Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

HBCU Leaders Aim to Make Campuses More LGBTQ Inclusive

Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

HBCU Leaders Aim to Make Campuses More LGBTQ Inclusive

Article excerpt

After facing years of criticism for not doing enough to ensure diversity and inclusion of LGBTQ students on campuses, presidents and leadership officials of historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) have convened a first-of-its-kind summit to develop strategic ways to turn their campuses into safe spaces for students who identify as LGBTQ.

The presidents and executives of 14 HBCUs met recently at the headquarters of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest LGBTQ organization. Working with the campaign's HBCU Project, the participants hope that the summit will ultimately result in a stronger implementation of the mission of HBCUs in their support of both LBGBTQ students and faculty.

"We've got to figure out how are we going to make a deeper engagement in changing the culture on the campus:' Dr. Walter Kimbrough, president of Dillard University in New Orleans, said at the meeting.

Kimbrough and other HBCU leaders discussed the changes that have already taken place on their campuses and what they plan to do in the future.

Kimbrough and other HBCU leaders discussed the changes that Black Justice Coalition, a civil rights organization that serves the LGBT community, on cultural training methods that can be tailored to the Howard community. "We'll be starting this fall with a full training of all of our faculty and staff and students. That will be institutionalized and ongoing, and it will be a part of our HR process," said Kenneth Holmes, vice president of Student Affairs at Howard University.

In North Carolina, Fayetteville State University has made its bathrooms gender neutral. "We have done that in virtually every building on campus," said Dr. James Anderson, chancellor of Fayetteville State University.

"We're committed to creating safe spaces for LGBTQ students," said Dr. Makola Abdullah, preSident of Virginia State University. The university's efforts are similar to Howard University's in that they will also consist of training opportunities for faculty and staff to help them understand how to make the campus more inclusive.

Developments include cultural training and workshops for faculty, staff and students on working with students; LGBTQ centers; and engaging through conversations, events and activities for LGBTQ students. …

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