Elmhurst College’s question is raising questions

Rebecca Arriola, Editor in Chief

Elmhurst College, as a way to try and create an even more open and diverse school environment, has included an optional question on the 2011-2012 school year application for admission about sexual orientation. The question is “Would you consider yourself a member of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community?” where students will have an opportunity to identify themselves with the LGBT community. Students who answer “yes” are then eligible to receive an enrichment scholarship that will take off one-third of their tuition and will be put in touch with support groups.

There is both support and opposition to the question. Some believe it’s a positive change for the school by showing support and an open mind. Others, however, are skeptical. Arguments claim it’s an invasive question that will label the students. There have also been concerns of students lying and claiming to be a part of the LGBT community, just to receive the scholarship.

Elmhurst College Dean of Admissions, Gary Rold, thought of the idea to reach out to the community after speaking with some high school students at the Straights and Gays for Equality (SAGE) annual Big Gay Gathering. He said he’s more concerned about reaching out to the community and making sure they feel safe and accepted rather than the possible idea that students would lie on their applications.

Eileen Sullican, Elmhurst College Dean of Students, hopes that in the long run the change could even help students feel safe to “come out” earlier in their lives.

The effects of this change are still uncertain. The college administration can only do so much. It will now be up to the students to decide the future of how the college will look.

(Information and paraphrases from the deans based off Elmhurst College newspaper The Leader).