Masters Thesis

Supporting LGBTQ+ students: evaluating CSUB's campus resources

In a campus environment, it is important to be up-to-date with all campus diversity. Students, staff, and faculty need education on LGBTQ+ issues. Education can come in the forms of physical and mental health, terminology, news, and assistance in fostering connections between individuals. This study used in-depth interviews of LGBTQ students and allies to explore their experiences at CSUB as it relates to resources and the campus at large. In interpreting and analyzing these interviews, an overarching theme of invisibility became apparent. Students reported feelings of loneliness, isolation, and described a sense of being an outsider. These feelings were described through their experiences at California State University, Bakersfield (CSUB). This study further explores what students believe might make their campus more inclusive. Students want greater visibility of the LGBTQ community, more education, and the creation of a stronger Safe Zone program. In sum, based on students’ narratives, the CSUB campus lacks proper education and resources on LGBTQ+ concerns and issues. Training and education can begin with staff and faculty. For students, this includes incorporating LGBTQ+ educational material into CSUB courses and promoting faculty and staff in educating the student body. For example, training staff and faculty to be sensitive to preferred names, pronoun use, and terminology could aid them in better understanding their transgender or non-binary students. Faculty and staff are already required to complete yearly educational trainings in other areas and this could be added to those online trainings. Students come to the university to learn and educate themselves, so CSUB should provide opportunities to give them those tools. Having representation on campus that brings the LGBTQ+ community into the larger campus community could educate and potentially bring more tolerance and acceptance. Through the Safe Zone program, CSUB can increase inclusion for LGBTQ+ students in the campus community.

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