Wednesday, October 7, 2015

T*Camp expands to NorCal and New England in 5th year

T*Camp launched in 2012 as an intercampus retreat in Southern California.
After four years as the only intercampus retreat in the nation for trans/genderqueer and gender-questioning college students, three T*Camps will be offered in 2016.

SoCal T*Camp, set for January 8-10, 2016, is now accepting applications online from California college students. In addition, students from 5 Northern California campuses may apply in January 2016 to attend the new NorCal T-Camp, to be piloted later this academic year. New England T*Camp will open applications this Spring for college students in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. NE T*Camp is scheduled for October 2016.

Campus LGBT center staff at San Jose State University, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Merced, and UC Santa Cruz are collaborating to pilot the inaugural NorCal T-Camp. Not only will NorCal T*Camp be more geographically accessible to students in the region, offering two California retreats will also expand the number of students benefitting from the experience.

“Each of the past few years, over 100 California students have applied to attend T*Camp,” says Nancy Jean Tubbs of UC Riverside’s LGBT Resource Center. “Due to space limitations, only about half of interested students could join us on the mountain.”

New England campus staff, including former T*Camp facilitators, began working on their own regional T*Camp retreat earlier this year.

“NE T*Camp will create a safe and affirming space in which students can together, and individually, explore their gender and gender identity without fear,” says Keith Waak of University of Massachusetts, Boston. “We want to utilize this program to educate and encourage dialogue and growth within, and around, trans* community members and their allies.”

T*Camp has its origins in a 2011 UC Irvine retreat for trans/genderqueer and gender-questioning students. In 2012, the intercampus retreat was launched as a way to build community for often isolated college students. Today, SoCal T*Camp is co-facilitated by campus LGBT center staff, returning student T*Campers, and trans/genderqueer community mentors.

NE T*Camp organizers point to the scholarship of Sylvia Hurtado and Deborah Carter, who wrote that involvement, engagement, and affiliation are central to students' development and progress in college. And Peregrine Silverschanz theorized that students' educational success is strongly influenced by the "context of the attitude toward their education...including their sense of school and social 'inclusion' and 'exclusion.'"

“We want to create a social network and sense of belonging among students to emphasize support, care, and personal development long after the retreat has ended,” says Van Bailey, director of Harvard’s Office of BGLTQ Student Life.

The T*Camp program model is available on the LGBTQArchitect website by entering “T-Camp” into the search bar.

For more information, please email: - SoCal T*Camp - NorCal T-Camp - New England T*Camp

Sunday, September 20, 2015

State of Community Colleges LGBTQ Resources & Services

"The Queer and Now Conference was held at De Anza College on Tuesday, June 2, 2015. This annual conference featured student performances and workshops led by speakers from the larger Queer community."

With 114 campuses, the California Community College (CCC) system is the largest in the nation. In a few key areas, CCC is advancing support for LGBTQ students' success, partly influenced by AB 620 (2011). This assembly bill amended the Education Code to encourage (but not require) CCC campuses to collect aggregate data on sexual orientation and gender identity of students and staff; and to designate a staff point person "to address the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender faculty, staff, and students." The only existing system-wide entity for LGBT issues is the LGBT Caucus of the CCC Academic Senate. [Note: An October 2015 email communication stated the Caucus is "defunct and inactive."]

Since September 2013 (before the UC and CSU systems), the online CCC admissions application has asked voluntary sexual orientation and gender identity demographic questions. Currently, no mechanism is in place to access this data to track student success and possibly make the case that CCC Student Success & Support Program funding should be used to help at-risk LGBTQ students. SSSP funds support students experiencing "disproportionate impact," which on most CCC campuses means assisting groups based on disability, financial aid status, former foster youth status, race/ethnicity, and veterans status. AB 860 (2014) requires CCC districts to maintain a student equity plan for the above target groups, but not for LGBTQ students.

Sierra College, however, is setting a precedent by hiring a full-time Director / Program Manager for three student engagement centers: a  Cultural Center, Pride Center, and Gender Equity Center. According to the Campus LGBTQ Centers Directory, Sierra College will join Century College (MN) and Community College of Denver (CO) as the only community colleges in the nation with professionally-staffed LGBTQ centers.

Other CCC campuses are also setting standards for LGBTQ student support:

The Los Medanos College Q*Spot, the Palomar College Pride Center, and the City College of San Francisco Queer Resource Center are CCC spaces for LGBTQ students, although none are professionally staffed. The Fullerton College Cadena Cultural Center includes LGBTQ resources. Although not offering a physical space for LGBTQ students, Sacramento City College offers an excellent one-stop web page for LGBTQ resources.

San Joaquin Delta College in 2011 heard a proposal for a Delta Pride Space at the Facilities Planning Meeting. Campus officials stated that physical space for instructional purposes take priority and that the State does not fund student centers. Campus officials promised to search for a shared space for a Diversity Center, although no such space appears to exist four years later.

Imperial Valley College (LGBT Designee), Irvine Valley College (Campus Liaison for LGBTQIA Issues), and MiraCosta College (Campus Liaison for LGBTQIA Issues) created an LGBT Designee position following the authorization under the California Education Code (Section 66271.2). However, Imperial Valley College does not name the person or contact acting as the Campus Liaison. 

Santa Rosa Junior College established a President’s Advisory Committee on LGBTQ Campus Climate; and De Anza College founded an Equity Action Council that includes a Gender & Sexualities Advisory Group. Other campus committees are also addressing LGBTQ issues: The Glendale Community College Student Affairs Committee minutes from March 18, 2015 includes the establishment of a Task Force to address transgender student services. The Sacramento City College LGBT Subcommittee of the Student Equity Committee is a task force focused on LGBTQ issues on campus.

Sierra College's Spectrum Committee of their Academic Senate is "a formal body whose mission include[s] improving the success and retention of Sierra College’s LGBTIQ students as well as ensuring them a safe campus climate."

Also on the academic side, City College of San Francisco offers an LGBT Studies Major; Napa Valley College's Child and Family Studies offers an LGBT Studies Certificate Program; and Sierra College offers an AA degree in LGBT Studies. Other campuses offer at least one LGBT Studies course: College of Alameda - Humanities 60: Introduction to LGBTQ Studies; Butte College - English 26: Queer Film and Literature; De Anza College - Intercultural Studies 26: Introduction to LGBT Studies; Foothill CollegeEnglish 5: Gay & Lesbian Literature; and Pasadena City College - English 058: Queer Studies in Literature (beginning 2016).

Allies, Safe Space, and Safe Zone projects are found on many CCC campuses, offering training to staff, faculty, and students on LGBTQ issues and resources and raising visibility of campus LGBTQ support. Some campuses mention staff/faculty training on Flex Days, or train-the-trainer opportunities. Others provide a permanent web presence:

Other noteworthy LGBTQ initiatives by CCC campuses include:
  • De Anza College hosted the Queer & Now Student Conference in June 2015. The events were sponsored by the Office of Equity, EAC Gender & Sexualities Advisory Committee, the Black Leadership Collective, and African American Studies Department. About 300 people attended the conference.
  • The MiraCosta College Gay Straight Alliance endowed an annual $1,000 GSA Student Scholarship in 2014, by raising more that $25,000. In 2015, the MiraCosta College Inter-Club Council purchased rainbow tassels and stoles for graduating students. The request for funding highlighted NEA statistics on homophobic campus climates and the need to create an inclusive and welcoming campus that values diversity.
  • The Gay & Lesbian Association of District Employees (GLADE) serving Cypress College and Fullerton College (North Orange County Community College District) established a scholarship for students active in the LGBT community
  • The Lake Tahoe Community College Board of Trustees supported a faculty member's professional development leave in which she learned about issues of sexual orientation as they relate to career decision making and development. She reported back at the March 12, 2013 Board of Trustees meeting.
  • The Student Senate for CCC hosted the first conference of the Spectrum Caucus in 2012, according to the May 14, 2012 Weekly Mission STEM newsletter of Los Angeles Mission College. However, the current SSCCC web site makes no mention of the Spectrum Caucus or any other LGBT entity.

Finally, a grant through the California Mental Health Services Authority provides free online training to support at-risk students via Kognito for all CCC campuses. Modules include LGBTQ on Campus for Faculty & Staff; and LGBTQ on Campus for Students. However, a survey of all 113 CCC campuses show that many do not offer any of the Kognito trainings or do not mention the LGBTQ modules (even though other modules such as Veterans on Campus are highlighted). The free LGBTQ modules are available through 2017.

A note on this blog post: Nancy Jean Tubbs, Director of UC Riverside's LGBT Resource Center, took this inventory of LGBT services and resources on CCC campuses by accessing web sites between July 3 and September 18, 2015. No effort was made to contact individuals as a follow-up to accessing web information, so this inventory is limited to what CCC campuses choose to include on the internet. Please contact Nancy Jean Tubbs to correct errors.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

University of California Admissions Application adds gender identity & sexual orientation voluntary questions

Starting Fall 2015, the entire University of California system will begin collecting data on UC freshman and transfer applicants to the nine undergraduate campuses regarding sexual orientation and gender identity through voluntary self-identification. Read the UC Press Release.

 These students will enroll in Fall 2016.  The questions are asked in this way:

Gender Identity
1) How do you describe yourself? (Mark one answer)
 Male
 Female
 Trans Male/Trans Man
 Trans Female/Trans Woman
 Genderqueer/Gender Non-Conforming
 Different Identity

2) What sex were you assigned at birth, such as on an original birth certificate? (Mark one answer)
 Male
 Female

Sexual Orientation
1) Do you consider yourself to be (mark one answer)
 Heterosexual or straight
 Gay or lesbian
 Bisexual
 Not listed above (please specify) __________

"We will have data from the approximately 193,000 students who apply for the UC. This means we will have meaningful population data for approximately 92,000 freshman students and an additional 20,000 transfer students who accept and enroll," says UC San Diego LGBT Resource Director & Diversity Officer Dr. Shaun Travers.

"With this data, we can target resources and other student support services, such as scholarships and themed housing" says Travers. "This data will also enable campuses to develop curricular and co-curricular offerings that reflect students’ diverse perspectives, and that promote a safe and welcoming learning environment for all students."

Thursday, March 5, 2015

UCSC hate crime rallies students seeking better support

A University of California, Santa Cruz student was attacked on February 7, 2015 in an alleged hate crime based on sexual orientation.

According to a student petition calling for action, "the victim had their wrist broken in three places, and shattered in one place, broken knuckles, a fractured jaw, a dislocated hip, and suffered a concussion."

UCSC Campus Provost/Executive Vice Chancellor Alison Galloway shared a campus-wide email on February 12 that named the attack as a possible hate crime but did not specify sexual orientation as the motivation:
The gravity of this incident is disturbing, and the allegation of a hate crime is particularly troubling. As a campus, we welcome students, staff, faculty, and guests of all races, religions, ethnic groups, nationalities, traditions, backgrounds, orientations, physical abilities, and cultures. Targeting a victim because of his or her perceived membership in a particular group is unacceptable—and illegal. I want to assure the campus community that we are investigating this hate-crime allegation with the seriousness it deserves. 
The Santa Cruz Sentinel reported students' belief that the attack was hate-motivated based on sexual orientation:
“It was very clear that it was a hate crime because people who were there heard the attackers screaming slurs and saying things along the lines of, ‘You better not be gay. That’s not OK,’” Epstein said.
Galloway's email and follow-up staff communications emphasized campus resources available to students impacted by the alleged hate crime. Campus community members were also urged to report hate/bias crimes and incidents to campus police or online at

The student online petition includes four demands:

  1. multi-stall, all-gender restrooms within walking distance of all classrooms
  2. free self-defense workshops and classes available to all students
  3. mandatory University-wide workshops regarding "queer, trans, and gender non-conforming life, existence, terminology, and issues"
  4. hiring of multiple staff professionals, including a trans-specialist, to provide training, etc.

Of the 9 undergraduate UC  campuses, only UC Merced has less professional staffing to provide LGBTQ-focused campus services on campus. The Lionel CantĂș Queer Center is staffed by one full-time director, who is currently on medical leave.

On Facebook and other social media, UCSC students are speaking out about the hate crime, its impact, and the University response, especially in the context of other UCSC student protests against tuition increases. UCSC undergraduate student Avery's Facebook post has garnered peer support for expressing the emotional toll of the hate crime on students:
How f---ing long is it going to take for the violent hate crime at Kresge to gain a fraction of the public notice the six students protesting yesterday did? Already the petition to rally expulsion of these students has gained more signatures IN ONE DAY.
I hold so much pain and trauma on my back today, for myself and for the ones I love who are being told they don't matter. Through these consequences, we are told we don't matter. Our amount of money matters. Our bodies do not. Our obedience to the UC matters. Our pain and suffering does not. People of color do not matter. Queer people do not matter. Trans people do not matter. Those who suffer systemic, institutional physical/financial/gender/sexual violence do not matter.
I am TIRED of trying to go on and function as a student, as a student leader, as a young adult trying to learn how to be responsible and successful in this world and PRETEND as if all of this bullsh-- weren't happening all around me! I am so tired and so heavy. I almost want someone to tell me what to do with this body that has been made to feel so useless, so insignificant. 
But I know I can't. Anger and pain is the only feeling I embody today. I feel anger out of love. Pain out of love. Love for myself and the people I love, because we deserve more out of this f---ing world than we are getting. I feel angry out of compassion because I want more for us than this violence! So I'm going to hold on to this anger. I don't know where it's going or what to do with it yet but my body will not forget.


Prevent Hate Crimes at Santa Cruz - blog for updates Petition

City On A Hill Press

Santa Cruz Sentinel

KION News Channel

ABC Channel 7 News