The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 3 - 41

Exploring LGBTQ+ Students' Awareness of Housing and Antidiscrimination Policies Across Institutional Type

example, an environmental scan of the policy
environment asks if and how students are
aware of the policies and recourse available to
them through such means as a bias reporting
system (for specific incidents) or university
governance (for policy in general). In housing,
staff members at all levels should be aware of
policies and understand formalized mechanisms through which students can apply for
LGBTQ+ housing or report discrimination.
As demonstrated in the findings, institutions
have sexual orientation and gender identity/
expression antidiscrimination policies, but
as other research finds (Woodford, Kulick et
al., 2018), schools may need to do more to
support LGBTQ+ students in order to reduce
LGBTQ+ students feeling unwelcomed on
college campuses. Proactive engagement in
publicizing antidiscrimination and LGBTQ+
housing policies and in auditing policies and
practices are two steps housing staff can take
to enact a more positive climate for LGBTQ+
students.
As is the case with any research study, this
study has limitations to consider when interpreting the findings. First, the study uses a
convenience sampling by surveying students
attending a conference and those connected
to LGBTQ+ listservs. It is possible that respondents were connected to active LGBTQ+
networks, including student groups and initiatives, which may foster increased awareness
of institutional policies. Further, though the
sample is large and diverse, the results may not
be generalized to all LGBTQ+ college students.
Second, participants responded to questions
about the availability of specific LGBTQ+ policies. It is possible that some students remain
unaware of any policies until they need to

access them. For example, only students who
want to live in university housing may know if
LGBTQ+ inclusive housing exists.

CONCLUSION
Supporting students is the primary responsibility of higher education and student affairs
professionals. Institutions, however, may not
have equipped staff with the requisite tools
to support students, particularly students
holding minoritized identities, including developing supportive policies and procedures.
Out of the nearly 5,000 degree granting institutions of higher education in the United
States, only about 20% have nondiscrimination policies for gender identity/expression
(Campus Pride, 2019); fewer than 13% prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation;
and only about 6% include explicit protections
for transgender people (Windmeyer, 2016).
While some campuses have antidiscrimination policies in place to protect students marginalized on the basis of gender and/or sexual
orientation, other affirming institutional policies such as LGBTQ+ housing are needed to
more fully support LGBTQ+ students and
their lives on campus. This type of change is
needed for higher education institutions to
become affirming places for all students.

REFERENCES
Association of College and University Housing
Organization International. (2014). ACUHO-I
standards and ethical principles for college and
university housing professionals Retrieved from
https://www.acuho-i.org/Portals/0/2014_Feb_
Standards_Ethical_Principles_1.pdf
Bilodeau, B. (2009). Genderism: Transgender students, binary systems, and higher education. Saarbrücken, Germany: VDM Verlag Dr. Müller.
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https://www.acuho-i.org/Portals/0/2014_Feb_Standards_Ethical_Principles_1.pdf https://www.acuho-i.org/Portals/0/2014_Feb_Standards_Ethical_Principles_1.pdf

The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 3

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 3

Contents
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 3 - Intro
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