Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Colorado Trans on Campus Coalition Releases Study, Policy Recommendations for Colorado Colleges & Universities

News Release
For Release: 31 October 2012
Contact:  Jordan Ames
Phone: (303) 871-2781
E-mail: jordan.ames@du.edu

Colorado Trans on Campus coalition releases study, policy recommendations for Colorado colleges and universities
Study examines barriers to full inclusion of transgender and gender non-conforming students, staff, and faculty
 DENVER—The Colorado Trans on Campus coalition – a coalition of transgender and ally students, staff, and faculty from a number of different institutions of higher education in Colorado – has released the final report from a qualitative research study examining barriers to full inclusion of transgender and gender non-conforming students, staff, and faculty on Colorado college and university campuses. 
The report, Invisibilities, Uncertainties, and Unexpected Surprises: The Experiences of Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Students, Staff, and Faculty at Colleges and Universities in Colorado, presents findings from in-depth interviews and provides policy recommendations deriving from those findings.
The study is believed to be the only published research specifically examining this topic for universities solely within the State of Colorado. The sample of 30 represents a multitude of departments and offices on campus, both academic and administrative, at 10 different colleges and universities in Colorado.
“The purpose of this study is to increase the understanding of the barriers to full participation in campus life faced by transgender community members and to provide concrete recommendations for administrators and advocates on campuses of higher education in Colorado,” says Eugene Walls, associate professor in the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Social Work, and the study’s lead researcher.   “We specifically chose to have a sample that included trans-identified staff and faculty, as well as students, because of the sheer lack of information about staff and faculty in the scholarship—this project adds useful data about these subgroups that have not been previously captured by other researchers”
The study found that while campus experiences are impacted by the identities, roles, and expectations people bring with them, there are various aspects of the campus itself and the actions of people who make up the campus community that also affect a transgender individual’s experience. These “Contributing Factors to the Campus Climate” include:  the campus environment;  the use & abuse of power by staff, faculty, and administrators on campus;  policy communication & implementation; campus resources; the sense of community on campus; and the degree to whichtransgender people are tokenized and/or allowed to self-define their own boundaries and roles.
The stories of the 30 individuals interviewed for this project reveal ways that colleges and universities in Colorado (and beyond) can take concrete actions to better include and affirm transgender and gender non-conforming people and to welcome their presence on campus.
The report’s recommendations are organized by campus departmental areas (e.g., student services, student/staff/faculty organizations, campus housing).  Recommendations range from supporting faculty efforts to infuse content about the transgender community and issues related to gender identity and expression in classroom curricula to developing  a map of campus that points out the location of single-stall and gender-neutral bathrooms in each building.
“This study validates the anecdotal stories my colleagues and I have, and will motivate and focus needed improvements on our campuses,” says Thomas Walker, director of Educational Programs & LGBTIQA Services at DU’s Center for Multicultural Excellence. “With state law and many institutions’ policies guaranteeing equal access to all gender identities and expressions, I look forward to working with campus and state counterparts to implement the study’s recommendations in pursuit of our commitment to Inclusive Excellence.”
The research project was funded, in part, by the University of Denver’s Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning, along with faculty time by the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Social Work. Additional staff and volunteer support was provided by the Colorado Anti-Violence Program and the University of Denver’s Center for Multicultural Excellence.
Copies of the full report and the executive summary have been mailed to Chief Operating Officers and Chief Diversity Officers at Colorado colleges and universities. An executive summary as well as the full report can additionally be downloaded fromhttp://portfolio.du.edu/ewalls2.  Questions regarding the report can be submitted toEugene.Walls@du.edu.
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The University of Denver is committed to improving the human condition and engaging students and faculty in tackling the major issues of our day. The University ranks among the top 100 national universities in the U.S. For additional information, go towww.du.edu/newsroom or follow the University on Facebook and Twitter.

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