UW-Green Bay offers LGBTQ certification to stem student exodus

The University of Wisconsin, Green Bay has created a “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Students Certificate Program” in hopes of stemming an outflux of LGBTQ students.

According to an announcement on the school’s website Wednesday, the school has experienced an exodus of students upset by “the lack of LGBTQ+ focused courses or the opportunity to earn a certificate,” even though the university has a favorable Campus Pride Index rating and was named one of the “50 Best Colleges for LGBTQ Students” this year by College Choice.

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In an effort to staunch the hemorrhage, the school created the LGBTQ certificate program in hopes that it would “assist with student retention, recruitment, academic achievement, and leadership growth.”

The certificate program will be open to students in any major and anyone in the community who wants “to think informatively and critically about the lives and contributions of LGBTQ people, to respect the dignity of LGBTQ people, and to understand and interact with a culture that contributes to the diversity of our world.”

According to an online description of the program, successful participants will learn how to “effectively challenge bigotry, inequality, and systems of oppression, including those based on gender and sexuality.”

Those who complete the certificate program are also expected to emerge with an understanding of the “socio-cultural and historical construction of gender and sexual identities,” as well as the “intersectionality of gender and sexuality with race/ethnicity, religion, class, and nationality.”

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Lastly, participants will examine “major issues pertaining to the lives of LGBTQ people,” such as “the impact of queer culture on the dominant culture.”

The description notes that a “defining feature” of the program will be a “participant-directed high impact practice,” examples of which include putting on a “queer theory symposium,” organizing “a public reading of a play by Oscar Wilde,” and completing an internship with an LGBT advocacy organization.

Before enrolling in the certificate program, students must complete the “Ally Training I and II,” sessions offered by the school’s Pride Center, which are designed to teach students “how to support and advocate for those individuals who are gender and sexual minorities.”

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