An assessment of the campus climate for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons as perceived by the faculty, staff and administration at Texas A&M University
Noack, Kerry Wayne
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The purpose of this study was to identify and describe the current campus climate for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons at Texas A&M University as perceived by the faculty, professional staff, and administration at the institution. Specifically, the study looked at differences in perceptions and behaviors based on university position, race/ethnicity, gender, sexual identity, age, and interaction with members of the sexual orientation minority. The population for the survey consisted of 5,863 individuals at Texas A&M University, including 513 administrators, 1,992 faculty members, and 3,358 professional staff members. Based on the work of Krejcie and Morgan, a random sample of each of the three employment categories was taken, which resulted in a sample of 1,020 individuals. The survey instrument used was the Assessment of Campus Climate for Underrepresented Groups, developed by Susan R. Rankin, Ph.D. A selected group of questions from the survey were analyzed in order to conduct this research. The usable response rate was 47.9%. Overall, the data supported the finding that the University does not provide a campus environment that is welcoming to all members of the community, especially those individuals who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. Several statistically significant differences were found to exist among the positions of the participants, as well as race/ethnicity, age, gender and sexual identity. The research also confirmed that an individual's attitudes and behaviors toward gay men, lesbians, bisexual men and women or transgender persons were influenced in a positive manner in relation to the frequency of contact that the person had previously had with members of this population. When compared to the norms established by a similar study across the United States, Texas A&M University was found to have a more negative campus climate. Implications for practice suggest ways in which the university can work toward improving the campus climate for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students. Among the suggestions are the development of new policies that create a more supportive environment and new programs to serve the needs of the sexual orientation minority and to educate the campus community. Suggestions for future research are also discussed.