What’s it like for LGBT and allied students at Ithaca College?

While there’s no easy way to adequately describe the campus climate at any college or university, we have addressed some questions you may have about what goes on at Ithaca College. 

Are sexual orientation and gender identity included in the non-discrimination policy?
Sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression are included in the college’s non-discrimination policy.  (See /attorney/policies/). Additionally, the City  of Ithaca municipal code prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, and includes both in its hate crimes law as well (Part II, Chapter 215, Code of the City of Ithaca). Tompkins County also includes sexual orientation and gender identity in its nondiscrimination law (Part II, Chapter 92 of the Charter and Code of Tompkins County).  And, the  State of New York human rights law prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment, public accommodation, education, housing, and credit (see http://www.dhr.state.ny.us/).   

Is there an active LGBT student organization?   
There are four!  Created Equal is the activist LGBT student organization.  The mission of Created Equal is “to design and implement projects on a local, state and national level, which will address issues and provide solutions to problems facing LGBTQA people on the Ithaca College campus, the larger community, and the United States as a whole.” PRISM is Ithaca College's “queer-straight alliance dealing with sexuality, gender identity and gender expression.”  PRISM is a social and educational organization that meets weekly. Spectrum is a social group for anyone who is looking for a community of people who have feelings and are attracted to the person and not the gender. The Association of Gay and Straight Student Athletes “provides a safe space for all student athletes to discuss issues of sexuality in sport and encourages dialogue between athletes, coaches, and teams in order to promote open and welcoming environments.” The groups welcome all who are interested, and all are very active on campus.   

Is there a campus office for LGBT student services?   
The Center for LGBT Education, Outreach, and Services actively fosters the academic success and personal growth of LGBT students and offers college wide services to enhance the campus  community’s awareness, understanding and appreciation of LGBT students, staff and faculty.  The Center strives to create a campus that is the best learning, working and living environment for LGBT people.   

Are LGBT sensitive counseling services available?   
The staff in the Counseling Center is very supportive.  The Counseling Center also periodically provides specific programs and services for LGBT and questioning students, such as coming out  groups and stress-management workshops for LGBT and allied students.  

Where can I find resources on coming out?  
Our LGBT center provides a plethora of resources in this area. These resources come in a multitude of forms from books to pamphlets, or online resources to an on-site staff such as the LGBT coordinator and the supportive counseling center staff.

Are other campus offices supportive and inclusive of LGBT students and issues?   
Other campus offices strive to be inclusive of the needs and issues of LGBT students.  For example, the Career Services office has recently developed resources specifically addressing career search issues for LGBT students, and the Chapel hosted an open house for LGBT and allied students.   

What activities are sponsored on campus for LGBT students?   
Activities focused on LGBT students and allies occur throughout the year at Ithaca College.  The Center for LGBT Education, Outreach & Services coordinates speakers, films, and other events, and also provides an LGBT Resource Room with books, periodicals, videos, and other resources.  The LGBT Resource Room is a multipurpose room and safe space available to all members of the campus community. The Center also recognizes LGBT and allied graduates at the end of each year at a unique Rainbow Reception ceremony. The student groups also sponsor events throughout each semester.   

Is there a procedure for reporting LGBT-related bias incidents and hate crimes? How does the school respond to such incidents?   
The campus takes incidents of LGBT bias or harassment seriously. Concerns or complaints may be brought to the Office of Public Safety.   

Are supportive faculty and staff easily identifiable?   
There is an active Safe Place project on campus that involves the public display of signs designating LGBT-friendly spaces along with resources available to support LGBT students, faculty, and staff.  A directory of some of the out and proud LGBT and allied faculty and staff is available on the LGBT Center website.   

Does the school offer domestic partner benefits?   
Domestic partner benefits, such as health insurance, are available for partners of faculty and staff.   

Does the campus and surrounding community feel safe and welcoming?   
In 2010 Ithaca College was one of only 19 colleges nationwide to achieve the highest ranking – 5 stars -  on the Campus Climate Index LGBT National Assessment Tool; thus improving its 4.5 star rank from 2007. In 2006 Ithaca College was named one of the Best 100 Campuses in the nation for LGBT Students by book The Advocate College Guide for LGBT Students.  The readership of the popular LGBT website PlanetOut.com also voted Ithaca College one of the best colleges in the nation for LGBT students.  The city of Ithaca was also included on the top 10 list of places to live in the US for gay and lesbian people by The Advocate magazine, in March 2007; in July 2010 the Daily Beast named Ithaca # 14 of “America’s Top 20 Gayest Cities” using data derived from the US Census. 

As always, the best way to find out about the campus and community is to visit for yourself. Contact the Admission office to arrange a visit. 


Looking for a ZAP Panel?

Although the LGBT Center does not coordinate ZAPs, we can connect you with the people who do!

Our LGBT and Allied student group prism is the place turn to for all your ZAP needs!  

So, what is a ZAP Panel anyway? 

A ZAP panel is a specific type of educational program aimed at learning about the diversity of experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and allied people. That learning takes place as panelists share their short personal stories about being an LGBT or allied person and provide an opportunity for the audience to ask questions.     

How do I host a Zap!?

Please contact prism or the ZAP co-coordinators for more information:

Benjii Maust and Isabel Galupo
bmaust1@ithaca.edu and igalupo1@ithaca.edu
PRISM Facebook

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