STORY BY JOEY GALE
At the beginning of the semester this year, I found that one of our neighbor institutions, Grinnell University, was listed as one of the top 20 LGBT friendly universities in the country, according to Huffington Post.
Naturally, I checked to see where Drake ranked on this list. Much to my dismay, I found nothing.
After doing a little research, I found that Drake hadn’t ever applied to even be on the list. The reasoning quickly became clear.
A small team of us sat down in early September and completed a profile for Drake on the Campus Climate Index, a national assessment tool for universities on-campus inclusion for LGBT students. After submitting our profile and assessment, we received our grade back within a few days. Our score? Two out of five stars or 30 percent out of 100 percent.
At first glance, many may assume that Drake is a pretty inclusive campus, and they’re not wrong. We aren’t necessarily “bad” in this department, but we are absolutely nowhere close to stellar. We have a lot of work to do.
With that being said, a small group from the Leadership Capstone at Drake created an organization called One Voice. The goal? To make Drake a top 20 LGBT-friendly campus by 2018. Not only are we going to need student commitment, leadership and direct focus on this goal, but we are going to need institutional commitment if this is going to be a success.
The only way we can reach this goal is if top-level administrators take this matter seriously and don’t push it to the back burner as something that will just naturally occur.
I’ve often heard staff, faculty and administrators joke about how if the students are doing something that isn’t necessarily consistent with the university, or the students are “raising a ruckus” about something, that all you need to do is “just wait a year” and the students will forget about it. I don’t want this to become one of those issues. Just wait a year…
I hope by the end of the semester, we can gain the support we need so that we can become a more inclusive university for all of our students.