UMD To Offer New LGBTQ Minor In Fall 2015

The University of Minnesota Duluth recently announced a new LGBTQ minor that will begin classes during the 2015 fall semester. The new minor program is the result of two years of hard work by the faculty of the Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies department along with the approval of the University of Minnesota Board of Regents.

Assistant Professor George Hoagland says of the new minor program, “Offering the LGBTQ minor is a real indicator of what the campus climate is like. When these programs are available, it makes a statement that this is important to us.”

Students are responding positively to the steps being made by the university to include all students from all walks of life regardless of who they are, who they love and how they identify themselves.

Junior Lee Hansen is encouraged by the actions of UMD and feels she will gain valuable knowledge from the LGBTQ minor as she works towards dual degrees in Criminology and Women, Gender and Sexuality. She says the new program is a “visible inclusion on an institutional level” and feels that it “sends the right message to queer students. If a group isn’t legitimized by an institution, even though we are very legitimate, then others are never going to see them as legitimate.”

During the course of the LGBTQ minor, students will have the unique opportunity to delve into the “history, politics and cultures of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex identities and perspectives.”

The LGBTQ minor was followed by another big step by the university as plans to provide gender inclusive housing for students is set to begin during the fall 2015 semester. UMD steps up to be one of the first universities in Minnesota to make this shift and knock down gender divides for their students. We can only hope that a trend will be started with other colleges and universities will follow suit.

“I’m really appreciative of all the support that we’ve gotten on campus and from the Student Association, the voice of the students. They voted strongly in favor of approving the policy,” said UMD Student Association President Jacob Froelich.

UMD’s students will be afforded the chance to opt in for gender inclusive housing at any of the five on campus apartment buildings. Students will then be assigned roommates of various genders as a result. Those who do not wish to change their living arrangements will be able to continue as they always have and are not required to choose the gender inclusive housing program.

The statement on UMD’s website says, “Students will be able to select apartments in which their roommates can be any combination of genders. This supports ‘goal two’ of UMD’s strategic plan: creating an inclusive campus climate.”

Jeremy Lieferman, director of Housing and Residence Life, continued this line of thinking when he said, “We’re creating just that for many students who may have felt that they didn’t have a safe place to live in our community. Creating housing that’s inclusive of all students is an important step in this process.”

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