Univ Of Iowa Adds Sexual-Orientation Question To Application

The University of Iowa is asking potential students about their sexual orientation on its college application, the school announced today.

The inquiry, which is voluntary, is part of an effort to attract LGBT students.

Though Elmhurst College has similar questions on its application, U of Iowa will be the first public university to inquire about orientation. “This is a huge deal in that it shows any campus that it can do the same thing,” said Shane Windmeyer, executive director of Campus Pride.

The exact wording of the question is: “Do you identify with the LGBTQ community?”

Admissions counselor Jake Christensen, who proposed the addition, says in some cases it’s the first time a prospective student has seen some sensitivity and sense of inclusiveness: “This is an opportunity to educate people,” he explains. “To tell [them] that this is a place with respect for all kinds of students.”

And speaking of respect for all students, applicants can now select “transgender” on the part of the application that asks for their gender.

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  • Dakotahgeo

    Wow! What serendipity… and in Iowa, no less! The unrighteous religionists in Iowa certainly did themselves no favors when they decided to take revenge against the GLBT community. It is a slow, uphill climb for GLBT people to equality, but we ARE near the top and looking down. What the older generation simply will not face is the fact that this whole conversation no longer rests with them… them are dying or DEAD! The younger generation is running with the ball now and are in the process of crossing the finish line of social change and equality. This why we die after a few or many years… to get the heck out of the way of PROGRESS, and even to let the true message of Christianity show its radiant face to ALL people!

  • LubbockGayMale

    I’d worry about targeting myself by answering that question. Who knows who is going to read the application?

  • Davidoff

    University of Iowa, Iowa City, has long been a school with a rich history of inclusion. At least the town dealt well with many gays there over the years. The arts are important there and that emphasis attracts interesting, and gay,students more that one would think for an Iowa town. Indeed, Iowa City i always thought of as an island in the state where most were conservative, aka religionist and repressive. I was there in the late 60s when Irene Kenny held court in her bar. She protected the gays from any insults others might say to them. It has always had lots of LGB students. It was a good place to be a gay student!

  • technicolornina

    @LubbockGayMale, your name suggests you are from Texas, so I get that fear–but, myself being from a purple state (Pennsylvania), I think this is wonderful! My first semester at college I was placed with a very Catholic, virulently anti-gay girl who continually harassed me (gross, but sadly not at all unusual example: I kept a small store of microwavable food in our room, and when I came back from a weekend at home I found bloody pads and tampons scattered through my soups and popcorn–I had to throw out $40 worth of otherwise good food because there was blood on it!), deleted my phone messages, locked the door while I was out of the room at night for a shower, etc. I plucked up the courage to speak up at a college panel on discrimination–and for the entire rest of that year, my housing situation was overseen by our Director of University Diversity Programming, who took the case *straight to the president*. By the next year, they’d added a section to the housing application about requirements you had for a roommate (previously, they had only included “smoking or nonsmoking” and whether you preferred a “quiet-floor” or “social-floor” dorm)–and for the next four years of my five-year program, “lesbian or gay-friendly” was my number-one request every single time. I ended up with a couple of genuinely sweet, fantastic roommates because Housing and the university’s upper echelons took inclusiveness seriously.

    In some places, this might be a problem. Here, however, I see it giving GLBT students the chance to have a good roommate experience, access to appropriate bathrooms and changing areas, and ready information on relevant campus groups and services.

  • Raquel Santiago

    As with everything there is good and bad that can be potentials for this. Question will become then if a student is denied admission due to their identity and proving that will be difficult.

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