The S.A. deliberates adding questions about sexual orientation to Cornell’s common application in Willard Straight Hall Thursday. (Cameron Pollack / Sun Senior Photographer)

The S.A. deliberates adding questions about sexual orientation to Cornell’s common application in Willard Straight Hall Thursday. (Cameron Pollack / Sun Senior Photographer)

October 29, 2015

S.A. Proposes Adding Sexual Orientation Inquiry to Common App Supplement

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Applicants may soon see a new question inquiring about sexual orientation on Cornell’s supplement to the Common Application.

The S.A. deliberates adding questions about sexual orientation to Cornell’s common application in Willard Straight Hall Thursday. (Cameron Pollack / Sun Senior Photographer)

The S.A. deliberates adding questions about sexual orientation to Cornell’s common application in Willard Straight Hall Thursday. (Cameron Pollack / Sun Senior Photographer)

The change comes in response to complaints concerning the lack of demographic data on the LGBTQ+ population at Cornell available to the LGBT Resource Center. The Student Assembly voted to add questions on students’ sexual orientations to the Common Application and will send the resolution to the administration for a final decision.

The resolution, which is titled Collecting LGBTQ+ Demographic Data, proposes adding two optional questions, specifically regarding a student’s gender identity and sexual orientation.

This resolution, which was voted down last year in the face of questions about how such a questionnaire would be distributed, was represented this year with the addition that the questions be added to the Common Application. The resolution also noted the possibility of expanding these inquiries to other applications.

This new initiative would “allow the administration to analyze grade retention for LGBTQ+ students which we currently do not have, although other status groups do,” said Phillip Titcomb ’17.

Robert Dunbar ’18 and other members of the Student Assembly raised concerns that the demographic data would be used as a way to implement affirmative action policies.

“This has been brought up within administration, however admissions officers have pointed out that many students self-report their gender identity or sexual orientation in other supplemental admission materials as well,” Titcomb said.

According to the 2014 Hurtado Report, many queer-identifying students, especially trans* students and queer students of color, face social and academic exclusion at Cornell. The Association of American Universities also reported that 29 percent of non-heterosexual females and 11 percent of non-heterosexual males experience non-consensual sexual conduct as compared to the 22 percent and 5 percent of the heterosexual populations, respectively.

The LGBT Resource Center said they are currently unable to contact incoming students to create the networks necessary to support such students. Through this resolution, the S.A. hopes not only make such resources more accessible, but also further promote inclusivity on campus, according to Titcomb.

The resolution was passed 18-0-3 with two community votes counted in favor.

2 thoughts on “S.A. Proposes Adding Sexual Orientation Inquiry to Common App Supplement

  1. “The LGBT Resource Center said they are currently unable to contact incoming students to create the networks necessary to support such students.”
    Really?
    Most non-LGBT students know there is a LGBT Resource Center. Maybe most LGBT students do not want to be associated with those who think all LGBT individuals think the same or have the same issues. Maybe the concept that people of the same color, sexual preference, or sex want to hang out only with those of the same “group” under which liberals want to classify is finally ending and THANK GOD, or Allah, or the lack of a deity if that is what you believe in.
    The sooner isolated academics and the liberal media stop trying to identify people by some single narrow aspect of what makes each of us an individual, the sooner the problems associated with the practice will end. There should be one resource center for all students who need help and not many to segregate and divide people.

  2. ^ in response to the above comment: separate resource centers are necessary and vital because despite what you may think, every student has personal identities that are different and unique. Different groups require different types of specialized support. A resource center can make all the difference. Personally, I am too shy to reach out, so this change is something I know will be hugely and positively impactful on lgbtqia+ student’s lives. thanks

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