Improving climate for LGBT students is focus of ECU webinar

East Carolina University will host a webinar focused on ways to better meet the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students at 2 p.m. Feb. 15 in Science and Technology Building Room 144.

Featured panelists include Shane L. Windmeyer, executive director of Campus Pride, and Dr. Sue Rankin, founding member of the Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals.

Windmeyer is an author and national leader on gay campus issues. His book, “The Advocate College Guide for LGBT Students,” is the first college guide that profiles the best LGBT-friendly campuses. He is co-founder of Campus Pride, the only national organization for student leaders and campus organization working to create a safer college environment for LGBT students.

Rankin has presented and published widely on the impact of sexism, racism and heterosexism in the academy and in intercollegiate athletics. Rankin’s current research focuses on the assessment of institutional climate and providing policy makers with strategies to improve the campus climate for under-served communities.

ECU faculty, staff and students will join in the conversation, aimed at preparing attendees with the awareness and knowledge needed to improve the campus climate for LGBT students. Concerns include the academic success and persistence of students identifying as sexual and/or gender minorities; LGBT students’ emotional and mental health; and LGBT students’ intersecting identities in areas such as students of color, student athletes and spirituality.

ECU sociology professor Dr. Linda Mooney in 2008 researched the ECU climate for LGBT students, finding many of the same issues that exist on campuses nationwide. Her results showed that 55 percent of LGBT-identified students at ECU had feared for their safety at least once during the previous year. Approximately 67 percent reported that they sometimes or often concealed their LGBT status to avoid intimidation.

The webinar is sponsored by the ECU Office of Equity, Diversity, and Community Relations in association with the Division of Student Affairs, the LGBT Resource Office, and the Safe Zone Leadership Team.

Attendees should register using One Stop, under University Training. Those unable to attend may request a CD of the presentation from the Office of Equity, Diversity and Community Relations.

For additional information, contact the LGBT Resource Office at 252-737-4451.