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Davis, California

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Editorial: Potential for flaw

The University of California’s plan to ask students their sexual orientations on their Student Intent to Register (SIR) forms is still in the works. The intention of the proposal is to collect data on the number of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students at UC and to inform campus climate assessments.

Having this information is projected to allow the University to provide students with resources to make them more comfortable on campus.

Unfortunately, the main issue with this proposal is that since the survey is optional, there probably would not be accurate data. With potential inaccuracy, these statistics may not be entirely helpful in providing resources if not all students participated.

Unlike demographic studies asking about what ethnicity one most identifies with, sexual orientation is less concrete and is much more complexly defined. The question remains: How many options would be on the survey? Is it open to adjustment for students at later times?

If the school proceeds with the measure, it should offer more than just heterosexual and LGBT sections. Potential categories could also include queer, questioning, intersex, asexual and ally. Still, it may even be difficult for some freshmen to pinpoint what sexual orientation they identify with precisely. The plethora of options alone show one possible issue with asking students to self-define their sexuality.

Creators of the study acknowledged that including the survey as part of the admissions application could be awkward for some students working with their parents on application. Whereas in the SIR forms, students spend less time working with their parents. Officials said that they would revisit the issue of including this on the application in a couple of years. We encourage the UC not to do so, as they are correct that for some students it is uncomfortable to talk to their parents about sexual orientation. Sexual orientation should not play a part in admissions.

The purpose of the proposal seems noble, but the application of the survey lacks in practicality.


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