To the Metropolitan State community:
I am writing today to recall our attention to Metropolitan State's commitment to valuing and welcoming all members of our LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, and other minoritized genders and sexualities) community. Our University's commitment to affirming diversity in all its forms and to programs and practices of active inclusion that foster student success and a healthy workplace apply equally to our LGBTQ+ students and colleagues.
The learning and working climate for LGBTQ+ people on campus must be such that all of our colleagues and students experience equitable treatment and full inclusion in our community. The lifelong learning that informs our mission deepens our capacity for conferring respect and dignity upon one another. We all have the privilege of learning from and about one another.
According to a survey by the Association of American Universities, LGBTQ+ students experience forms of harassment, assault, and violence at significantly higher rates than their peers. At the same time, sexual harassment is consistently under-reported, even in official data.
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force reports that approximately 12 percent of students in post-secondary settings identify themselves as gay or bisexual, and that one-fifth of all reported incidents of harassment and violence against LGBTQ+ people took place at universities and colleges.
In our society, experience and research reveal that women and people of color face elevated levels of discrimination, barriers to opportunity, and risk of physical violence. If they are also LGBTQ+ people, they encounter compounded exclusion, under-employment, hostility, poverty, low self-esteem, and compromised emotional, mental, and physical health. Sadly, these trends have also been evident in higher education settings.
Metropolitan State has an ongoing responsibility to be a higher education leader in assuring a safe, inclusive campus where the highest aspirations and accomplishments of every student and colleague, including LGBTQ+ people, are respected and actively supported. The principles of our mission, vision, and University values are inconsistent with any lesser standard. Therefore, I am proud that Metropolitan State offers programming that increases the visibility of and promotes awareness and understanding of LGBTQ+ identities and experiences, that we provide scholarships and other resources to our LGBTQ+ students, and that, as a community, we do not tolerate hateful language or actions.
However, our aspirations to be an inclusive and supportive University community are not yet fully realized. Our ongoing reflection and work will be deepened by the leadership of our colleagues on the University's Equity and Inclusion Council. Together, let us shape the culture and climate that our policies and founding principles call for, celebrating and supporting all members of our LGBTQ+ community. Please join me in the journey to creating a safe, welcoming, and productive environment for all of us.
President Virginia "Ginny" Arthur, JD
Metropolitan State University
Preferred gender pronouns: she/her/hers