As a result of the efforts of LGBTQ, pluralism activists and other Washington collegiate community members, an updated enrollment form that includes gender neutral options and self-announced pronouns will become standard additions to college enrollment forms in the state of Washington. The new records will provide an insight into where acknowledgement was previously lacking and will help those in authority become aware of the diversity vested within the student population at BC. These options will allow for an accurate representation of the LGBTQ student population, allowing the new data to be utilized to make informed decisions.
The proposition was spurred by the fact that “LGBTQ student populations are very under-studied, especially at community colleges,” said Yoshiko Harden, Vice President of Diversity at BC. Students from outside of Bellevue College gathered their thoughts and directed their eagerness towards action. They presented their ideas and concerns to Faisal Jaswal, assistant dean of Student Programs at BC. Jaswal worked with students outside of BC as well as avid members of the BC LGBTQ community. His ambition was to “be their voice,” to amplify and reverberate their message. Program directors and council members met up to bring sprout a plan into action. They sought to support the differences and individuality of their students.
LGBTQ Resource Center Director Ali Collucci mentioned that although BC’s diversity policy “shows complete inclusivity for all demographics, this is not always practiced,” which is the message BC students want to get across. The proposition came about “because of the lack of statistical data and thus lack in representation for and from the LGBTQ community in technical/community colleges,” Colluccidescribed herunderstanding ofthesituation.
This was an effort that many supported, and “several people had wanted to work on and wondered why it was missing from the application process for a very long time.” Harden summed it up, “the LGBTQ initiative is a positive institutional practice that supports the college’s pluralism compact and affirmation of inclusion.”
The additions to student enrollment forms will encourage LGBTQ students to actively announce their presence and preferences. Harden said, “by being explicit and asking these questions we send a welcoming message that says to LGBTQ perspective and current students and their allies, that BC promotes an accepting and positive campus climate,” which is already a goal presented through BC’s established campus policy.
Collucci believes that this process will allow the college “to take better accountability to this huge demographic that, unless they show stereotypical signs of being part of a community, the institution does now know,” with regards to the gender preferences and identities of students. “It will allow the administration to see just how many people are not recognized.”