Gender sexuality center receives highest ‘pride rating’ in Oakland history

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By Oona Goodin-Smith

Somewhere over the rainbow, OU’s got pride. More specifically, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) pride, as this year the Campus Pride Organization has given Oakland University its highest “pride rating” in campus history. 

Developed in 2001 by a team of LGBT researchers, “the assessment looks at a variety of climate indicators like LGBT policy inclusion, LGBT academic life, LGBT student life, and LGBT housing and residence life, among others,” said OU Gender and Sexuality Coordinator Grace Wojcik. “Our four star score indicates a percentage score between 70-79% [nationwide].”

This time last year, OU’s Campus Pride score ranked as the significantly lower three out of five stars. 

Wojcik strongly attributed the jump in rating to an increase in campus projects the GSC has been involved with, such as hosting Oscar-winning producer and LGBT rights activist Dustin Lance Black in the fall, as well as support from campus faculty. 

“I think people’s attitudes are just changing when it comes including the LGBT community,” said freshman Monica Pelkey. “There’s a lot more exposure and acceptance in the media now.”

“For our Campus Pride score to improve means a few things,” said Wojcik. “One, it acknowledges the hard work of many people who helped to start the GSC, were the first to work in the GSC, and the numerous student leaders who have fought for change on campus. Two, it demonstrates OU’s overall commitment to diversity and inclusion. Lastly, we hope it will attract potential students to Oakland may not have realized how inclusive the campus environment is for LGBT people.”

Wojcik also credited the university’s decision to make the GSC supervisor position full-time in January 2013 to raising the Campus Pride score, but acknowledged that there is still work to be done to achieve the coveted five star ranking. 

“Achieving a score of 5/5 will only be possible with the support of the entire campus community and I think we are making improvements every year,” she said.

In honor of Women’s History Month, the GSC is holding events each week during the month, and will be hosting the first-ever Pride Week at Oakland from April 7-April 13 featuring a drag show, pride prom, presentation with nationally-recognized bisexual activist Robyn Ochs, and much more. For information on these events and the GSC’s other programs, visit oakland.edu/gsc or facebook.com/GSCatOU.

 

Contact Staff Reporter Oona Goodin-Smith at [email protected]