HRC Blog

University of Iowa Adding Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity Demographic Questions to Application

Post submitted by Dan Rafter, Former HRC Associate Director of Communications

The University of Iowa is adding LGBT-inclusive language to its admissions application, adding in optional questions about applicants’ sexual orientation and gender identity. The move makes the university the first public institution and the second U.S. college or university to adopt optional questions about students’ sexual orientation or gender identity, according to Campus Pride.

Campus Pride Executive Director Shane Windmeyer says gathering the additional information will allow the university to better provide safe environments for LGBT students, as well as track their academic progress.

The Common Application, which is one of the largest applications used by nearly 400 colleges and universities across the country, rejected a proposal to add LGBT-inclusive language to their national admissions application. Windmeyer said the University of Iowa’s decision to embrace questions on sexual orientation and gender identity is critical to providing a better on-campus experience for LGBT students:

Campus Pride knows from our national research that a quarter of LGB students encounter harassment on campus and this percentage is even greater for transgender students. We also know that LGB youth are at higher risk with certain negative health factors. There is no reason today why colleges and universities should not be held accountable for the campus climate as well as want to ensure the academic success and retention of LGBT students.

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