UND Today

University of North Dakota's Official News Source

Letter: Supporting LGBTQ+ students, faculty and staff

Jeff Maliskey, assistant director of Student Diversity & Inclusion, details resources, including educational and community engagement opportunities

Jeff Maliskey, assistant director, UND Student Diversity & Inclusion/LGBTQ+ Initiatives

Editor’s Note:
The Pride Center, Student Diversity and Inclusion, and Diversity and Inclusion
stand in support of our LGBTQ+ community. However, the responsibility of creating an inclusive campus environment for LGBTQ+ students is not that of just one individual or one department; it is the responsibility of the UND community. For information about LGBTQ+ supporting resources at UND; including educational and community engagement  opportunities, programs, and services, UND Today presents this detailed letter to the campus community from Jeff Maliskey, assistant director of Student Diversity & Inclusion/LGBTQ+ Initiatives.

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In 2017, we opened the doors of a Pride Center on campus to support LGBTQ+ students. We have worked tirelessly to address the concerns and needs of our community as we engage in work to build a more equitable and inclusive campus. These efforts have grown to address the rising concerns of mental health among LGBTQ+ populations; access to support resources and structures; and the ability to find a safe, welcoming, and inclusive community.

The Pride Center believes that all members of our LGBTQ+ community should be treated fairly and equally. Education and awareness are foundational in this effort.

Our efforts are grounded in best practices in higher education and use historical perspectives to address the ongoing needs of our LGBTQ+ campus community. In October 2021, the Jed Foundation and Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resources Professionals released the Proud and Thriving Framework and Report, a summary of research findings on LGBTQ+ mental health with recommendations for high schools, colleges, and universities. The goal of the framework is to serve as a guide to create more affirming and supportive environments for LGBTQ+ students. Recommendations included implementation of the following LGBTQ+ inclusive practices:

  • Correct use of pronouns, including sexual orientation and gender identity questions on intake forms, and offering services beyond talk therapy
  • Clear processes for reporting, response and remediating potential policy violations
  • Processes that allow students to use their chosen name, pronouns, and gender in current student records (including ID cards, class and team rosters, and diplomas)
  • Trans and non-binary inclusive policies for housing
  • Inclusive facilities (restrooms, changing rooms)
  • Participation in clubs, sports teams, dances, etc.

At the University of North Dakota, we strive to put these recommendations into action to serve our ever-growing LGBTQ+ population. Our implementation of actions such as using chosen name on University communications, letting people add pronouns and gender identity on Campus Connection, and installing gender-inclusive restrooms in new buildings makes a difference in the lives of our students. National data from the Trevor Project National Survey on LGBTQ Mental Health 2021, National Transgender Survey, North Dakota LGBTQ+ School Climate Report and the American College Health Association’s National College Health Assessment tells us of the importance these inclusive practices and policies in higher education have on the well-being and academic success of our LGBTQ+ students.

It is imperative as a community that we have awareness and understanding of support resources on campus to better serve students.

Below are highlighted opportunities for learning and for developing understanding of how to support LGBTQ+ students, faculty, and staff at the University of North Dakota.

Additionally, we complete an annual assessment through the Campus Pride Index, an indicator of institutional commitment to LGBTQ+ inclusive policy, program, and practice. Currently the University of North Dakota rates 3 out of 5 stars. Our assessment shows noticeable gaps in the areas of our academic life, campus safety, and counseling. This assessment is meant to serve as a guide to how we can continue as an institution to strive for excellence.

Finally, the responsibility of creating an inclusive campus environment for LGBTQ+ students is not that of just one individual or one department; it is the responsibility of the UND community. Thus, we must ask ourselves, as a community, how are we all going to help make our campus safer and more supportive to our LGBTQ+ community?

The Pride Center, Student Diversity and Inclusion, and Diversity and Inclusion stand in support of our LGBTQ+ community. For more information about LGBTQ+ programs and services, visit UND.edu/pridecenter

Sincerely,

Jeff Maliskey, assistant director of Student Diversity & Inclusion / LGBTQ+ Initiatives

Supporting Resources

  • Students can update their name in Campus Connection without a legal name change
  • Students can update their e-mail/NDUS.identifier with University Information Technology
  • Students can update gender identity, pronouns, and sexual orientation in Campus Connection
  • Students have access to gender-inclusive on-campus housing by selecting the option in their housing application and working with our Housing and Residence Life team
  • Students, faculty, and staff have access to an online campus gender-inclusive restroom map
  • Students can find support services within Student Health Services and University Counseling Center with inclusive intake forms
  • Students, faculty, and staff have access to a clear reporting structuring through SafeUND

Educational Opportunities

  • LGBTQIA+ Ally Training is offered multiple times each semester. See the UND Events calendar for upcoming training dates. Those who complete training receive a placard, are listed on the Pride Center Webpage as allies and receive buttons, pins, and stickers to show their commitment to supporting LGBTQ+ students.
  • LGBTQ 101 videos provide a basic understanding of gender and sexual diversity.
  • Vector Solutions Training for Faculty & Staff offers two trainings: (1) Making Campus Safe for LGBTQ+ Students and (2) Transgender Awareness.

 Community Engagement 

  • The Queer & Trans Alliance is a student organization that promotes a safe environment for the LGBTQ+ community on campus.
  • The UND National Gay Pilots Association is a student organization that promotes and educates on diversity and inclusion in all aspects of the aviation industry.
  • LGBTQ+ Faculty & Staff Association is a group that supports faculty and staff in networking, socializing, and professional development.
  • LGBTQ+ Mentorship Program provides opportunity to meet new people and learn more about the LGBTQ+ community. Mentors are out faculty, staff, and graduate students who are comfortable in their identity. They are here to help students navigate campus and get them connected to resources that help them make the most of their UND experience.