NC State’s 2004 Student Diversity Climate Survey collected data on a wide range of climate issues. All undergraduate and graduate students were invited/encouraged to provide input, and a total of 3296 undergraduates and 1320 graduate students did so. Of the 3146 undergraduates who declared their sexual orientation, 3045 identified as heterosexual, 99 as gay, lesbian, or bisexual, and 2 as transgender. Of the 1282 graduate students who did so, 1223 identified as heterosexual, 55 as gay, lesbian, or bisexual, and 4 as transgender.
While the number of students that identify as a member of the GLBT community is unknown at NC State University we do know that in the 2010 campus climate survey 6% of the undergraduate respondents self-identified as gay, lesbian, or bisexual and 1% self-identified as transgender (total number of respondents = 3,307).
The 2004 campus climate survey revealed that GLBT students are the most likely of all students to feel threat of harm to themselves or their belongings and to experience the highest levels of verbal harassment, particularly in residence halls. These results run counter to our mission at NC State University, and the kind of campus culture we strive to maintain.
The university has had GLBT programs and services (established in 2004), provided part-time by a graduate student in the Department of Campus Activities. Numerous faculty and staff members have been providing voluntary programmatic and advising support to the student organization for almost twenty years.
In the 2006-07 academic year, the GLBT Subcommittee of the University Diversity Advisory Council (UDAC) submitted a proposal to create a gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) center. The UDAC, Student Senate and Faculty Senate endorsed the NC State GLBT Center Proposal. On Wednesday January 23, 2008 the GLBT Center officially opened with a ceremony attended by an estimate of 150 people from the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and ally communities.
In November of 2007, NC State first participated in the LGBT Campus Climate Index, a national assessment tool through Campus Pride. Without a GLBT Center in place, and minimal support services in place the University was rated a 2 on a scale of 5. By April of 2009, NC State achieved a 4 (76%) out of 5 and in 2012 we achieved a 4.5 out of 5 (86%) for our overall campus climate. The areas that we need to focus on in the near future are related to policy inclusion, academic life, housing, counseling and health, and recruitment/retention. We scored well in such areas as safety (96%), institutional commitment (100%), and student life (94%). This report will continue to help us with benchmarking and future assessment related to climate. To learn more about the Campus Climate Index go to http://www.campusclimateindex.org
Thursday February 3, 2011 was the launch day for our It Gets Better video that was filmed by an NC State ally and now alum, Will Lamb. In less than twenty four hours the video went viral online between YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. Overnight we had more than 4,000 hits to the video and in just a week breached over 10,000 hits. The positive response, comments, emails, calls, etc was almost overwhelming. We have heard from people all over the world and not just alumni or members of the community. The Technician did a front page story about the video and its creation, including talking to some of the people interviewed. As a result of the media exposure with our It Gets Better video NBC asked their local affiliate (NBC-17) to provide a companion story about bullying to run the same evening as their national story. Justine Hollingshead was interviewed as a part of the local story talking about the effects and impact of bullying on our youth. In early March the It Gets Better video, Will Lamb, and the need for allies was featured on the University’s homepage in a story titled Hope Unscripted. In just four days after debuting on the homepage there were over 2,100 pageviews (5th highest of the new year) and the average read time for the story was 4:22, the second longest of 2011.
In the spring of 2010 we received approval and funding to hire a full-time Program Assistant for the Center and in the fall of 2012 we added an Assistant Director to our staff. As a part of the NC State strategic plan the GLBT Center was moved from the Division of Student Affairs to a newly formed Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity (OIED). This occurred over the summer of 2011. We are now housed with other diversity units such as the African American Cultural Center, Multicultural Student Affairs, and the Women’s Center.
We also participated in the National Campus Climate Assessment project conducted in the spring of 2009 by Campus Pride and the National Gay and Lesbian Taskforce (NGLTF). NC State University is a member of the Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals and the American College Personnel Association (ACPA) Standing Committee for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Awareness.
(This information was in part compiled by NC State News Services, January 2008.)