Virginia State University Embarks on Plan to Increase Campus LGBT Inclusion

April 18, 2018

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Virginia State University (VSU), a historically black land-grant university in Petersburg, Virginia, this year committed to a diversity initiative geared toward creating a more inclusive campus atmosphere for LGBTQIA+ students, staff, and faculty.

Virginia Hall at Virginia State University. Used with permission.

According to Diverse: Issues In Higher Education, VSU had previously held a rating of 1.5 stars out of five in the Campus Pride Index, which measures how LGBT-friendly a college or university is. The university now plans to double its pride index rating by fall 2019 through its first campus-wide diversity and inclusion initiative.

In fall 2017, VSU President Makola M. Abdullah established an Advisory Board for Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer/Questioning Intersex Ally+ (LGBTQIA+) Inclusion to identify areas of improvement for the campus. A working group of students, faculty, staff, and community leaders will carry out the initiatives and cultural competency established by the board. The efforts include:

  1. Creating a diversity and inclusion map of all safe zone areas and gender inclusive restrooms;
  2. Installing gender inclusive restrooms;
  3. Improving the university’s campus pride index rating;
  4. LGBTQIA+ 101 and safe zone training for all faculty and staff; and
  5. Creating a review process of all university documents to ensure LGBTQIA+ culturally competent language.

“[VSU] strongly believes in fostering a community that identifies, values and respects differences of all people by creating a positive experience for students, faculty, staff and the community,” President Abdullah said. “Therefore, as a university, we recognized that the Trojan campus community should be a safe, affirming environment for each and every student.”

—Carly O’Connell

At a Glance

ACE Member Institution: Virginia State University

Initiative: LGBTQIA+ Diversity and Inclusion Initiative

Goal: Create a more inclusive campus culture where all members of the community can pursue a quality education in an affirming and welcoming learning environment.

Become a member: As a member of ACE, you join nearly 1,800 organizations that collectively promote, protect and advocate for students, faculty and administrators in higher education. ACE is the most visible and influential higher education association in the nation, and we are at the center of federal policy debates concerning legislation that affects campuses across the country. See more on the ACE website.

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