Employee responses to LGBTQ survey call for education, more inclusion
The Vice Provost for Inclusion and Diversity and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Faculty and Staff Caucus at Virginia Tech have released the final report on a LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) climate survey of university employees conducted in spring 2014. The survey received 1,475 responses, and asked about campus climate, issues and services, human resource benefits and policies, gender expression, discrimination and harassment, and leadership.
The survey responses revealed that individuals who identify as LGBTQ feel isolated at Virginia Tech, and are more likely to consider leaving the university. Respondents also reported they felt greater education and awareness of LGBTQ issues is needed. Written comments supported providing equitable benefits for same-sex married couples, a benefit that was realized on October 6, 2014, when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review a Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling, which made same-sex marriage legal in the commonwealth.
"The survey provides valuable insights as we move forward in creating a more inclusive university for all members of the Virginia Tech community," Virginia Tech President Timothy D. Sands said.
LGBT Caucus co-chairs Amanda Morris and Chad Mandala said the survey was launched two years ago in partnership with the Department of Human Resources and the then vice president for diversity and inclusion.
“While the results do not surprise the LGBT Caucus, we are extremely happy to have data addressing what we have long suspected to be a campus wide climate issue,” Morris and Mandala said. “That 23.5 percent of LGBT faculty and staff felt excluded or not welcome due to their sexual orientation at Virginia Tech is cause for concern."
The survey marks the first time Virginia Tech has surveyed employees about LGBTQ issues. The caucus and other organizations and divisions, and InclusiveVT, are considering conducting climate surveys of students and other members of the Virginia Tech community in the future.
The LGBT Caucus at Virginia Tech is committed to advancing equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families. The caucus seeks to improve the lives of LGBT individuals both at the University and in the New River Valley community through educational programming, social activities, public service, and outreach.
Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.