Legislation adds sexuality checkbox to college applications

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Published 2012-04-12T23:30:00Z”/>


Pedro Quintana

A bill that allows college applicants to disclose their sexual orientations aims to provide data that will help campuses better serve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students.

Assembly Bill 620, also known as Equality and Equal Access in Higher Education, went into effect Jan. 1 and affects the University of California system, California State University system and California community colleges.

Chico State doesn’t have data providing the percentage of LGBT students in need of services on campus, said Sara Cooper, a professor of foreign languages and literatures. Having data would help the argument for more support services.

Some students think sexual orientation doesn’t have a place in college applications.

The education system shouldn’t ask students about their sexual orientation, said Sofia Fatone-Zayas, a junior psychology major. It’s up to students if they want to seek help.

Last year, Chico State faculty members created the LGBT Faculty and Staff Association, which has enhanced and improved conditions for members, Cooper said. It also aims to improve campus conditions and the lives of LGBT students.

As an out lesbian, Cooper has many students approach her to talk about concerns or questions about the community, she said. Being vocal and open as a resource helps students.

The multicultural and gender studies department has also brought awareness of gender issues to the classroom, she said.

The new general education pathways offer a fall 2012 class about gender sexuality, Cooper said.

The Gender and Sexuality Equity Center is committed to promoting a safe environment for students of all sexual and gender identities through educational awareness and programs, according to its website.

GSEC wanted to be more identifiable for LGBT students in the campus community, so it changed its name from the Women’s Center, said Kimberly Edmonds, the director of GSEC.

The center is planning events such as dance groups and a leadership conference to bring more awareness to campus and to educate students about LGBT communities, Edmonds said.

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<strong>Pedro Quintana can be reached at</strong>

<em>[email protected]</em>

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