UCLA May Ask Incoming Students About Sexual Orientation

The University of California at Los Angeles may soon begin to ask incoming freshman their sexual orientation. Apparently this is an effort to address diversity and improve the experiences of gay students. This isn’t likely to work.

According an article by Nicole Chiang in the Daily Bruin:

At a meeting in January, the Academic Senate, a board that oversees academic decisions system-wide, recommended an option be provided on statements of intent to register for students to self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

The issue was brought to the UC Board of Admissions and Relations with Schools, and the board made its recommendation in January. While there were mixed reactions, the board decided it is important to collect the statistical information, said Angela Arunarsirakul, a student representative on [the Board of Admissions and Relations with School] (BOARS) and a third-year political science and history student.

I’m not really sure why such data collection is really “important,” however, as that statistical information is likely to be highly misleading.

Part of the problem is that people often don’t experience sexuality until they get to college. Apparently some 26 percent of gay and bisexual-identifying college-educated adults came to understand their sexual orientation in college. College, meaning being there; not before.

Only 54 percent of boys and 58 percent of girls have even had sex by age 18. That’s the majority, but just barely. For a lot of people, exploring questions of sexuality, any type of sexuality, doesn’t begin until college starts.

Leaving aside all legitimate privacy issues, a survey people fill out upon deciding to attend UCLA will likely not full capture very much about the school’s true gay population. Not that it’s really clear why UCLA needs to know.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer