Virginia State University Embarks on Plan to Increase Campus LGBT Inclusion
April 18, 2018

Virginia State University (VSU), a historically black land-grant university in Petersburg, Virginia, this year committed to a diversity initiative geared toward creating a more inclusive campus atmosphere for LGBTQIA+ students, staff, and faculty.

According to Diverse: Issues In Higher Education, VSU had previously held a rating of 1.5 stars out of five in the Campus Pride Index, which measures how LGBT-friendly a college or university is. The university now plans to double its pride index rating by fall 2019 through its first campus-wide diversity and inclusion initiative.

In fall 2017, VSU President Makola M. Abdullah established an Advisory Board for Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer/Questioning Intersex Ally+ (LGBTQIA+) Inclusion to identify areas of improvement for the campus. A working group of students, faculty, staff, and community leaders will carry out the initiatives and cultural competency established by the board. The efforts include:

  1. Creating a diversity and inclusion map of all safe zone areas and gender inclusive restrooms;
  2. Installing gender inclusive restrooms;
  3. Improving the university’s campus pride index rating;
  4. LGBTQIA+ 101 and safe zone training for all faculty and staff; and
  5. Creating a review process of all university documents to ensure LGBTQIA+ culturally competent language.

“[VSU] strongly believes in fostering a community that identifies, values and respects differences of all people by creating a positive experience for students, faculty, staff and the community,” President Abdullah said. “Therefore, as a university, we recognized that the Trojan campus community should be a safe, affirming environment for each and every student.”

At a Glance

ACE Member Institution: Virginia State University

Initiative: LGBTQIA+ Diversity and Inclusion Initiative

Goal: Create a more inclusive campus culture where all members of the community can pursue a quality education in an affirming and welcoming learning environment.