Bill pending in Oregon would ask students at public universities to reveal sexuality

A group of legislators in Oregon are pushing a bill that would force state universities and colleges for the first time to collect information on students’ sexuality.

Oregon H.B. 2995 would force all public colleges and universities to collect information on student's sexuality.

write-up of House Bill (H.B.) 2995 posted on the official website for the Oregon Legislature describes the bill as requiring “each public university, community college or other institution of higher education to allow students, faculty and staff to identify sexual orientation on forms used to collect demographic data.”

The purpose of the legislation, according to Steven Leider, a graduate student at Oregon State, who worked with lawmakers on the bill, is to help universities more easily cater to their Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) populations.  

“This dearth of demographic data severely hinders any kind of empirical research from being conducted about this largely invisible student population,” Leider told the Senate Education and Workforce Development Committee according to the Statesman Journal.

Jeana Frazzini, the Executive Director for Basic Rights Oregon, an LGBT advocacy group, told Campus Reform in an email this past Friday that she thinks the legislation would go a long way towards meeting LGBT needs.

“Clear, consistent data collection helps ensure that Oregon’s public institutions of higher education have the tools they need to meet all students’ needs,” she said.  “It allows colleges and universities to replicate successes and address disparities—and that strengthens Oregon colleges for all students.”

Rep. Sara Gelser (D-Corvallis) is the main sponsor of the bill, according to the Statesman Journal. The bill cleared the Oregon House last month 41-19 and is currently being debated in the Senate Education and Workforce Development Committee.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @TimPDion.

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