Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

Womens Studies

Major Professor

Michelle Hughes Miller

Keywords

campus climate, gender identity, higher education, LGBT, sexual orientation, transgender

Abstract

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students have unique experiences on campus such as discrimination, exclusivity, and homo/transphobia. Stated simply, this research project intends to address these issues by 1) identify students' perceptions of gender identity and sexual orientation diversity on campus, 2) identify the experiences of LGBT students during their time at the institution, and 3) acknowledge suggestions from the student body for ways the University being studied is, or may continue to be, inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Through the application of the campus climate framework and modification of existing climate surveys, a student-centered campus climate survey was distributed to various classes and student organizations. After a distribution period of seven weeks, the analysis of the data brought about many findings. This study determined that, while students acknowledge that the University attempts to be inclusive, LGBT students continue to experience harassment and discrimination. Individual and systematic interventions as well as suggestions for resource expansion were also provided by students as a means to cultivate a more welcoming environment.

With a concluding recommendation that research should continue to be conducted thoroughly and regularly, the University should consider this study the tip of an iceberg when attempting to understand students' perceptions of campus climate. More systematic and intersectional research needs be conducted on campus to determine the how varying student populations interpret everyday life on their college campus.

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