236837 A Comparative Analysis of Trends in Campus Climate for LGBTQ Students at a Large Southeastern University, 2001-2010

Monday, October 31, 2011

Jessie A. Barnett, MPH , Department of Health Promotion and Behavior, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Jessica L. Muilenburg, PhD , Department of Health Promotion and Behavior, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Corey W. Johnson, PhD , Counseling and Human Development Services, The University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Jennifer Miracle , Intercultural Affairs- Department of Campus Life, The University of Georgia, Athens, GA
BACKGROUND Studies have shown that a discriminatory or unsafe university environments negatively impact students identifying as LGBTQ. PURPOSE The purpose of this study was to: 1) describe LGBTQ students' perception of the current campus climate regarding safety and acceptance of their identities, and 2) compare trends with the original study from 2001. METHODS Participants were recruited through 17 diversity campus listservs, as well as a word of mouth. An online survey was completed by 83 students in 2001 and 85 students in 2010. Participants in both surveys had similar demographic profiles. The samples were evenly distributed by gender. The majority of respondents were White (75.0%) and younger than 25 years (67.0%). RESULTS Compared to 2001, the 2010 respondents reported feeling safer on campus, fewer knew someone who has been shunned because of sexual orientation or gender identity, and fewer saw anti-gay graffiti on campus. While the overall trend shows indicators of prejudice and violence slightly improving, the 2010 survey indicates 34.52% report being shunned, 8.33% threatened with physical violence; while 2.35% experienced physical violence because of their sexual orientation. CONCLUSION Although these results indicate an improvement in the campus climate, caution is offered in the interpretation that the change is adequate.

Learning Areas:
Administration, management, leadership
Advocacy for health and health education
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Diversity and culture

Learning Objectives:
1) Identify three improvements in the campus climate for LGBTQ students that occurred between 2001 and 2010. 2) Explain the importance of highlighting aspects of prejudice and violence that have not changed, despite the fact that the campus climate has improved.

Keywords: Safety, College Students

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because my research is focused upon safety, acceptance, physical and mental health of the LGBTQ community.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.