Listed here are some of the major issues which we work on day-to-day.
University non-discrimination policies
Institutional polices protecting the employment of faculty and staff and the opportunity of all members of a community in in every aspect of campus life are critical. We support educational institutions to adopt and promote inclusive and enumerated polices to ensure that all members of a community are valued in both policy and campus life. We are able to share polices from educational institutions across the Commonwealth and be a resources in supporting the implementation of these policies.
Establishing a LGBTQ organization
Out of the nearly 170 institutions of higher education in Pennsylvania, approximately 100 schools have a student LGBTQ organization. As a coalition of LGBTQ student organizations, we strongly support the development and health of student-run LGBTQ organizations. LGBTQ student organizations are very important in providing positive safe and supportive spaces and to be on the front lines for advocacy within institutions and campus communities. If you are interested in starting an LGBTQ student organization, please contact us for ideas and we are glad to help in any way we can.
Establishing a LGBTQ Resource Center of staff position
The process of starting an LGBTQ campus resource center or establishing a staff position dedicated to LGBTQ issues can be critical, and also potentially overwhelming. It is important to be prepared with a solid case to your college or university administration as to why institutional support is important to your community. There are currently 9 active LGBTQ campus resource centers in PA, which are listed on our website under Resources.
Gender neutral housing
We believe all students should be treated equally, regardless of sex, gender identity, or gender expression. The freedom to choose who to live with in college should be an individual choice instead of a limiting or gendered system- which can end up leaving transgender or gender non-conforming students at risk or in poor living situations. Several campuses in Pennsylvania offer this option and we are happy to consult with student organizations, faculty, staff, or administrators on this issue. The National Student Genderblind Campaign is a very useful tool for advocacy on this front.
Gender neutral bathrooms
Using restroom and bathing facilities are essential. It should not be, in anyway, the basis for discrimination. Transgender and gender variant members of campus communities should not be subjected to “holding it in” or harrasment in using bathrooms. PSEC supports that gender non-specific bathroom options be made available to across all campuses.
Issues around campus bias incidents
Campus communities may have a bias incident or hate crime. It is a very serious time for a campus in responding, and hopefully reconciling in some way, about the situation and heal. However, these are very sensitive situations which should be handled very carefully by any student organization or administrator. We strongly encourage that anyone follow the victim/s of the incident. Please refrain from revealing names or accusing people. It is important to fully document the incident and work with the campus safety department for a full investigation and with any counselors or administrative allies for community healing. PSEC maintains a database of campus bias incidents or cases of discrimination on college and university campuses in PA which we learn about. PSEC is set up as the coalition to be supportive for each other- and we can be involved in getting the word out about the situation or in the works in the background. Please contact PSEC immediately if you have a situation to report at Jgoodman@pennsec.org.