USC has no plans to give students a direct way to identify as a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, despite a national push to add such options to applications.
Students think it’s important for universities to include this on applications because this information will provide a clearer picture of what a university’s demographics are.
Emily Allen, director of the USC Queer and Ally Student Assembly, said she believes students should be able to identify themselves as LGBT on applications.
“If students are able to put their ethnicity and nationality on applications, then it seems right that they should also be able to put their sexual identity,” Allen said. “It is something that identifies them and it makes them stand out from other students.”
The Board of the Common Application decided last week not to allow LGBT students the option to identify themselves as such, disappointing many.
“LGBT youth deserve to know that the institution of their choice will be inclusive and welcoming,” said a statement from Campus Pride, a nonprofit organization for students working to create more LGBT-accepting universities.
Some feel that not allowing students to identify their sexuality on college applications prevents administrators from fully understanding what kind of students are attending their universities.
“It makes it harder for colleges to reach out to everyone and meet the needs of LGBT students,” said Serena Au, the resident adviser of the Rainbow Floor in Century Apartments.
Adding the option for self-identification could increase the diversity of programs offered by colleges and universities, Au said.
“For the Rainbow Floor in particular, it’s hard to reach out to freshmen students if we don’t know who to reach out to,” Au said. “Right now we have to wait for people to find out about us, but we could be actively recruiting and reaching out to students.”
Some pointed out, however, that not all students fully understand their sexuality by freshman year.
“It wouldn’t help us get a concrete student number because developmentally some discover their sexuality earlier or later on in life; it depends on the individual,” said Vincent Vigil, director of the USC LGBT Resource Center.
Even though USC students do not have the option of indicating their sexualities on the application, many LGBT students are happy with USC’s commitment to diversity.
“Though there is no box to check if you are gay, USC is open to diversity in its student body and would never advise students to hide something about themselves in their essays,” said Joshua DeMilta, a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism and political science.
DeMilta wrote about his coming out experience in some of his college application essays.
“I talked about my coming out experience … because it shaped who I am and how I dealt with challenges in my past,” DeMilta said. “I believe that the Common Application decided to [not ask about sexuality] so that students would not face discrimination in the admission process, but they went the completely wrong way in how to do so.”