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The Rutgers Center for Minority Serving Institutions (CMSI) in collaboration with the Human Rights Campaign Foundation is proud to announce the release ‘Modeling Inclusion: HBCUs and LGBTQ+ Support,’ a research brief examining the ground-breaking steps that Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are taking to establish LGBTQ+ inclusive policies and practices on their campuses. The research brief highlights several institutions including Bowie State University, North Carolina Central University (NCCU), Spelman College, and other HBCUs that are doing exemplary work in this regard and includes a list of recommendations on how to create LGBTQ+ inclusive campus environments. This report is a part of a partnership between HRC and CMSI seeking to encourage more HBCUs to invest in LGBTQ+ inclusion efforts.
For 15 years, the HRC Foundation’s HBCU Program has mobilized and supported HBCUs in enhancing policies and services that promote excellence in LGBTQ inclusion, equity, and engagement.
The report explores four critical areas that foster an environment of equity and inclusion for LGBTQ+ students:
The report highlights a number of HBCUs that are leading exemplary inclusion efforts, schools like Spelman College where they have established a trans-inclusive admissions policy, Bowie State University, where they have established the first HBCU LGBTQ health center and North Carolina Central University who is now the second HBCU to open an LGBTA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Ally) center.
One of the report’s top recommendations for HBCUs seeking to create an LGBT+ inclusive campus is to establish an LGBTQ+ center. According to the research, these centers were critical in creating an environment where LGBTQ+ students feel safe and welcome. These centers serve as a hub where students can congregate to socialize, engage with educational programming, and serve as a meeting place for groups - some of which form in order to advocate for LGBTQ+ students.
According to the brief, many HBCUs are still grappling with enacting policies that provide holistic support to LGBTQ+ students. The report focuses on examining the ways HBCUs can better provide holistic support for this community so that they can contribute to a more inclusive environment. Some of those recommendations include:
Similar to the experiences of other underrepresented students, LGBTQ+ individuals often face multiple stressors while living on college campuses. Thus, it is important that institutions are actively and intentionally promoting LGBTQ+ support services and safe spaces for this community. The report urges HBCU administrators and practitioners to consider expanding LGBTQ+ support services at their institutions and to advocate for increased commitment at HBCUs across the country.
The research brief can be found here.
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