Preliminary results from last Spring’s climate survey give voice
to the concerns of LGBTIQ students at UNC.
By Trevor Hoppe
Preliminary results from a
comprehensive study last Spring are giving students, faculty and
administrators a deeper look into the experiences of UNC’s LGBTIQ
student population. A total of 141 LGBTIQ students completed an
online survey that asked about issues ranging from harassment on
campus to their feelings about other LGBTIQ students.
The research was conducted
by University undergraduates and co-sponsored by the GLBT-SA, the
LGBTQ Office and the Department for Housing and Residential
Education. Researchers sought out LGBTIQ-identified students through
listservs and organizational meetings. Due to the personal nature of
the issues and the potential hazard of false submissions, researcher
Douglas Dukeman, now a UNC alumnus, said they “took many steps to
insure that respondents were more likely to be LGBTIQ students.”
These steps included “advertising on channels that have high numbers
of LGBTIQ students” and “asking students to self-identify with the
survey,” he said.
Results indicate a mixed
climate at UNC. While more than half of students stated they had
been verbally harassed on campus, only six percent said they had
experienced physical harassment. Every student who responded
admitted to being “given the cold shoulder” by other students based
on sexuality and/or gender identity.
Students gave tepid
responses to questions concerning University policy. Only slightly
more than half of students agreed that they would feel comfortable
reporting incidents of harassment to University administrators, and
almost three-fourths disagreed that the University adequately
informs students of harassment policies, with 63 percent of students
unaware that cases of harassment could be pursued through the
University’s Honor Court system. Similarly, only 7.8 percent
indicated that the University adequately responds to incidents of
harassment based on sexuality.
Results on the academic
climate were equally chilly. Fifty-three percent of students
indicated that they felt the University’s curriculum did not
adequately include “the needs and concerns of LGBTQ people.” The
same number also indicated that the University faculty did not
include enough LGBTIQ-identified professors, while just less than
half felt there were sufficient LGBTIQ-friendly instructors.
Overall, about one-fifth of respondents said the University is doing
a “poor” job of responding to the needs of LGBTIQ people, while no
student felt compelled to say the University was doing an
“outstanding” job of doing so.
When it comes to sexual
health, a number of results are striking. Sixteen percent of
students specified they had contracted a sexually transmitted
infection at some point in their life, and more than one in four
indicated feeling at risk for doing so. Around one-fifth also
indicated they had been pressured to engage in unprotected anal or
vaginal intercourse in the past year, while a startling 30 percent
indicated they had been pressured to engage in some sexual practice.
More than a quarter said they use the Internet to locate sexual
Asked to indicate their
level of “outness” - or how open they are about their sexuality -
students gave a range of responses. With other students, 28 percent
indicated they were “out to all the students” they knew, while only
ten percent were out to “very few.” In contrast, only 13 percent of
students said they were out to their entire family, while 22 percent
weren’t out to anyone in their family.
Look for a full report on
the entire survey results later this year.