A variety of groups and individuals at Cal State Long Beach (CSULB) have worked diligently over the last few months and have successfully raised the university’s rating on the Campus Pride Index, a well-respected measurement tool that gauges the quality of life of LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) individuals on college and university campuses across the country.
Just some seven months ago, CSULB’s rating on the index was a 2.5 (on a five-point scale), which one local publication described as “mediocre” and “tepid.” Today, members of the university’s new Committee on LGBTQ Campus Climate are pleased to announce that CSULB’s rating now stands at a 4.
“While many of new developments were institutionalized in the past year, they have been in the works. In fact, CSULB’s score would have been much higher last year, but the survey responses hadn’t been updated since the 2010-11 academic year,” said Dina Perrone, a member of the LGBTQ committee and an assistant professor of criminology and criminal justice. “With the help of Larisa Hamada (director of equity and diversity) and the campus community, CSULB’s score now truly reflects the current (as of January 2014) LGBT-friendly campus that we have.”
Established in fall 2013, the Committee on LGBTQ Campus Climate is charged with collaborating with all segments of the university to recruit, retain and promote the success of LGBTQ students, staff, faculty and administrators. The group also supports educational programs that promote increased understanding of LGBTQ and other diversity issues for all students in preparation for careers in diverse settings.
Perrone said as part of our committee’s charge, members have been performing periodic needs assessment of the campus climate at CSULB in regards to LGBTQ issues.
In addition to establishing the LGBTQ committee, other new developments on campus that have helped raise CSULB’s Campus Pride Index rating include the implementation of a queer studies minor, which is attracting many students according to committee members. There was also the College of Health and Human Services’ creation of campus-wide Safe Zone training for LGBTQ faculty, staff, students and administrators as well as campus safety officers.
Additionally, gender-neutral bathrooms have been set up and are now indicated around the campus, and beginning in fall 2014, gender-neutral housing is available through the university’s Housing and Residential Life Office. Students can formally apply now for gender-neutral housing.
Committee members made special mention of the Office Housing and Residential Life’s efforts to establish the gender-neutral housing, in particular the work of Director Carol Roberts-Corb and Associate Director Christine Phu as well as Laura Kaiser, ASI LGBTQ Affairs secretary, and student Shannon Cholakian, who worked with the office on the process.
“Since we were last ranked, many things have changed,” noted Neil Hultgren, current chair of the LGBTQ committee and an associate professor of English. “CSULB faculty, staff, students and administrators are committed to making this university an LGBT-friendly campus, and I believe that has been shown in the work that has been done in this area during the academic year.”
Those interested in viewing the university’s Campus Pride Index can find it at http://www.campusprideindex.org/about/default.aspx.