Colleges across the nation are being met with a new question: should they include a sexual orientation question on their application and enrollment forms?
Last fall, Elmhurst College became the first in the nation to add this question to their application: “Would you consider yourself to be a member of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered) community?”
Elmhurst students are given the option not to answer.
Currently the California college and university system, which consists of 144 campuses, is considering it.
NMU’s administration has not thus far considered the option of adding a question involving student’s sexual orientation to their application.
“I think it’s a good idea for a new category to be added to college applications if they have plans for the information,” said Gerri Daniels, director of NMU Admissions. “They could use the information to provide help to those students and connect them with student groups and programs on campus.”
According to Elmhurst’s website, they added this optional question because they are “committed to diversity and connecting underrepresented students with valuable resources on campus.”
This includes scholarships and campus organizations.
“I wouldn’t mind a more thorough way for admissions to know the students they’re admitting,” said Martha Lundin, secretary of OUTlook and member of Queer and Allies social club. “To know the spread of gender identity would be great for housing needs.”
ASNMU in the past has researched the possibility of bringing gender neutral housing to campus in order to increase inclusivity and acceptance.
“We’re not changing our practice,” said Carl Holm, director of Housing and Residence Life. “Our effort is to provide housing for unique needs.”
Currently NMU does not offer gender-neutral housing. Housing and Residence Life will not consider putting sexual orientation on their applications because they have a statement that takes care of issues for that, Holm said.
“When a gender non-conformant student is paired with the same sex but not the same gender identity, it’s kind of a breeding ground for conflict,” Lundin said. “It can make the roommate uncomfortable no matter how supportive the roommate may be.”
Though Lundin is for the addition to admission and housing applications, she’s still concerned about privacy issues.
“It does create issues about privacy and discrimination, depending on who receives it and reads it,” Lundin said. “[It] poses issues for students who aren’t as out as others.”