A message from Don C. Sawyer III, vice president for equity and inclusion, and President Judy Olian.
Dear students and colleagues,
Guided by the principles of inclusive excellence, we continue on a path to create a safe, supportive and welcoming campus for all community members, embracing all sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions. We seek to create a community where everyone expresses their full selves and is supported through an intersectional approach guided by an understanding of how identities combine, resulting often in various forms of discrimination and privilege.
We heard from students, staff and faculty committed to realizing this goal. We worked closely with the Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) student leaders to ensure that this work is collaborative and informed by their experiences. As a result of previous initiatives and more recent discussions, we share the following plan of action with our QU community:
- The university will introduce gender-inclusive housing for all students. Quinnipiac staff will work with students on how this option will be offered and the process for housing selection to ensure it is available in advance of 2021-22 housing assignments. Offering gender-inclusive housing accommodates and respects the complexities of gender identity and recognizes that traditional, same-sex room assignments are not always comfortable and/or appropriate for all students.
- Gender-neutral bathrooms will be established in all newly constructed QU facilities and will be added to existing buildings wherever possible. A listing of current gender-neutral restrooms can be found here: Gender-Inclusive Bathrooms.
- The university will conduct a baseline analysis of the campus LGBTQ+ climate and environment using the Campus Pride Index (CPI), a national LGBTQ+ campus benchmarking tool. The results will inform strategies to address areas of underperformance.
- A Residential Experience Committee, chaired by Tom Ellett, Chief Experience Officer, is developing a curriculum and residential experience for all first-year students, augmented by themed housing and student living-learning community options. The committee is also discussing expanded interest-based/living-learning communities for upper-class students, starting in Fall 2021.
- The inaugural LGBTQ+ Student Leadership Retreat will be offered in Spring 2021, hosted by the Department of Cultural and Global Engagement. The event will help students hone essential life skills through interpersonal discussion, leadership development and community engagement. The retreat will connect LGBTQ+ students to campus resources and networks that support academic and personal success.
- Training on gender equity, LGBTQ+ education, allyship training and Safe Spaces will continue to be offered and expanded across the entire QU community by the Department of Cultural and Global Engagement, augmenting existing equity and inclusion training.
- Quinnipiac has established the LGBTQ+ Fellows program. Fellows will focus on implementation of the above action plan to advance the success and safety of LGBTQ+ members, in addition to educating the broader campus community. The inaugural Fellows are Dr. Bianca Gonzalez-Sobrino, Assistant Professor of Sociology, as the faculty fellow; Vincent Contrucci, Director of Community Service, as the staff fellow; and Kayla Duncan, sophomore media studies major, as the Student Fellow.
Institutions built on a bedrock of equity and inclusion position all groups for success. In this set of actions, we seek to advance priorities in support of our fellow LGBTQ+ members as an embodiment of our commitment to inclusive excellence, to enable each member of our community to thrive. In so doing, we will become a more thoughtful, stimulating and inspiring community, a University of The Future. The university leadership holds itself accountable for progress on this set of initiatives in support of our LGBTQ+ community.
We look forward to partnering with you as we realize these commitments.
Don C. Sawyer III
VP for Equity and Inclusion