LGBTQ+ students were more likely to experience discrimination and violence, according to a new study by the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law Williams Institute and the Point Foundation, a scholarship fund that provides financial aid for LGBTQ+ students.
The study used data from the Access to Higher Education Survey, a national poll of 629 respondents who attended four-year colleges and 193 who attended graduate school. It found that 33 percent of LGBTQ+ people reported they were bullied, harassed or assaulted during college, compared to 19 percent of non-LGBTQ+ peers. Eighteen percent of LGBTQ+ people reported experiencing sexual harassment at college, compared to 6 percent of non-LGBTQ+ people. Additionally, 60 percent of LGBTQ+ people said they were not out to any faculty or staff during college, and 37 percent said they weren’t out to fellow students.
Regarding mental health, 35 percent of LGBTQ+ people said their mental health was “not good” for all or most of their time in college, and 39 percent said their colleges had LGBTQ+-supportive counseling services. Twenty-two percent of LGBTQ+ people picked a college away from home, which the study states was to “find a more welcoming environment.” Only 5 percent of their non-LGBTQ+ peers did the same. Additionally, 33 percent of LGBTQ+ people said they chose a college elsewhere to get away from their families, compared to 14 percent of non-LGBTQ+ people.
“Colleges and universities are increasingly concerned about diversity, equity, and inclusion,” the study states. “Findings from this study highlight the need to improve conditions for LGBTQ students, a sizable and heterogeneous minority population.”