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Baker, Frederic Drury.
The interrelatedness of homosexual identity development and perceptions of campus climate for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender students at the University of South Florida, Tampa campus
h [electronic resource] /
by Frederic Drury Baker.
[Tampa, Fla] :
b University of South Florida,
Title from PDF of title page.
Document formatted into pages; contains 104 pages.
Dissertation (Ed.D.)--University of South Florida, 2008.
Includes bibliographical references.
Text (Electronic dissertation) in PDF format.
ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to determine the perceptions of campus climate at the University of South Florida, Tampa Campus for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender students. Specifically, the study determined if there was any relationship between level of homosexual identity development acquired and perceptions of campus climate. If a relationship existed, it would influence the way that campus climate perceptions would be analyzed in future studies. The population was the undergraduate student body at the University of South Florida taking at least six credit hours in the fall semester 2007. An online survey was created with two instruments that have been validated in previous studies, one on campus climate and one that identified identity level. The campus instrument was completed by all respondents, while only those self identifying as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or questioning were directed to the identity level instrument.Of the 31,030 email solicitations sent out to eligible students, 2345 students responded and completed the survey. Of those, 228 were from gay, lesbian, bisexual, and questioning students. Research questions sought to reveal the campus climate perceptions of GLBTQ students; to determine if perceptions varied between gay, lesbian, bisexual, questioning, and heterosexual students; and to determine if there was a relationship between homosexual identity development and perceptions of campus climate. Conclusions of the study include perceptions of campus climate at USF are more positive than those reported in the results of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Study conducted by Rankin (2003). Additionally, administrative responses to GLBT issues are not visible to students. The research also noted that significant differences exist between the perceptions of campus climate for GLBTQ students between the heterosexual and gay, lesbian, bisexual, and questioning students.Finally, the level of homosexual identity development attained has a significant relationship with perceptions of campus climate The results of this study will impact the focus and delivery of student services, training, and diversity initiatives at the university. Future opportunities for advancing the knowledge of the subject matter include further development of the GIQ identity development instrument, and expanding the question of identity development and campus climate perceptions to a nationwide study.
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
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Co-advisor: Michael Mills, Ph.D.
Co-advisor: Thomas Miller, Ed.D.
x Adult, Career and Higher Education
t USF Electronic Theses and Dissertations.
The Interrelatedness of Homosexual Identity Development and Perceptions of Campus Climate for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Students at the University of South Florida, Tampa Campus b y Frederic Drury Baker A dissertation submitted in p a rtial f ulfillment of the requirements for the d egree of Doctor of Education Department of Adult, Career, and Higher Education College of Education University of South Florida Co Major Professor: Michael Mills, Ph.D Co Major Professor: Thomas Miller, Ed.D. Donald Dellow, Ed.D. James King, Ed .D. Date of Approval: March 4 2008 Keywords: Education, Environment, Q ueer, Q uestioning, GIQ Copyright, 2008, Frederic Drury Baker
Acknowledgements The completion of this dissertation project would not have been possible without the guidance and support of many individuals. Collectively, they have supported, challenged, listened, and advised me throughout this incredible process. For their contributions towards this effort, I would like to extend sincere thanks to the following individuals: To the Co chairs of my dissertation committee, Dr. Michael Mills and Dr. Thomas Miller, and the members of my committee, Dr. Donald Dellow and Dr. Thomas King; thank you for support, suggestions, advisement, a nd patience. To my friend, Dr. Patricia Van Den Berg, for her assistance with the statistical analysis and the support of my overall study. To Dr. Stephen Brady, who allowed me to use the GIQ for this study free of charge. To the graduate students in th e Department of Research and Measurement for their assistance in statistical analysis. To my friends at Keeling and Associates, LLC for the use of internet survey software necessary to complete the study. To my friend and colleague Dorie Paine, who went through the process a year before me and advised me well. To my many friends and colleagues in Tampa and across the nation who supported me through the process; who listened when frustrations mounted, and who celebrate the completion of this process with me. Valerie, Tom, Rob, Lance, Todd, Kevin, Mike, David, and Sperl. To my family, immediate and extended, for your constant love, support, and reassurance throughout my doctoral process.
Dedication This dissertation study is dedicated to m y parents, Francis Wayne Baker and Marion Drury Baker. As professional educators their entire lives, they instilled a love of learning in all their children, and emphasized the value of education not only for our personal betterment, but for the advanceme nt of society as a whole. My entire life, my parents have sacrificed their money, time and energy to support the educational needs and goals not only of their children, but their 6 grandchildren as well. The unconditional love and dedication to family has been demonstrated consistently throughout their lives, which positively impacted not only the immediate family members but all those who associate with the Baker family. I am eternally grateful for the understanding, enlightenment, and unquestioning devo tion my parents have shown me throughout my life. It is this devotion that has empowered me to stretch beyond my boundaries and tackle lofty goals such as completing a doctoral degree. Completion of this journey would not have happened without you.
Climate perceptions/Identity i Table of Contents List of Tables i ii Abstract v Chapter One Introduction 1 Introduction 1 Conceptual Framework 4 Population and Sample 8 Problem Statement 8 Significance of Study 10 Research Questions 12 Delimitations 12 Limitations 12 Chapter Two Review of the L iterature 14 Introduction 14 Literature R egarding Campus Climate 14 Literature R egarding Identity development 28 Chapter Three Method 38 Introduction 38 Research Questions 3 8 Research Design 38 Population and Sample 39 Variables 40 Instruments/M easures 40 Reliability Measures for This S ample 45 Data Collection Procedures 47 Data Analysis Procedures 48 Threats to Reliability, V alidity, and Generalizability 49 Chapter Four Results 51 Introduction 51 Demogr aphic Information of R espondents 51 Research Question One What are Perceptions Among GLBT Students of the Campus C limate for GLBT students? 5 4
Climate perceptions/Identity ii Research Question Two Is Campus C limate for GLBT S tudents at USF P erceived Differently by Heterosexual, Gay, L esbian, B isexual, or Transgender S tudents? 61 Research Question Three Does the Identity Level of GLB S tudents Relate to the Perceptions of Campus C limate? 68 Validation of Gay Identity Questionnaire fo r Identity Levels One and Two 74 Chapter Five Impl ications 76 Introduction/Summa r y 76 Conclusions 77 Implications 78 Recommendations for P ractice 80 Recomm endation for Further R esearch 85 References 89 Appendices 9 5 Appendix A: Assessment of Cam pus Climate for GLBT Students 96 Appendix B : Gay Identity Questionnaire 99 About the Author End Page
Climate perceptions/Identity iii List of Tables Table 1 Reliability measure for the campus climate survey 46 Table 2 Reliability measures for the gay i dentity q uestionnaire (GIQ) 46 Table 3 Demographic characteristics of r espondents 5 2 Table 4 Living arrangements of respondents 5 3 Table 5 Number and percents of GLBTQ group members who responded yes to questions regarding campus experiences 5 5 Table 6 Percents of GLBTQ group who responded very unlikely through very li kely to questions on feelings about campus climate 5 6 Table 7 Percents of GLBTQ group who responded strongly agree through strongly disagree to questions regarding feelings about campus r esponses 58 Table 8 Distribution of responses by factor s 6 3 Table 9 Data of feelings about campus climate by sexual orientation identified 64 Table 10 Analysis of variance for campus climate feelings by sexual orientation identified 65 Table 11 ANOVA of feelings about campus climate by sexual orientation with larger mean in group on e 65 Table 12 Distribution of campus responses to discrimination by sexual orientation 66 Table 13 Analysis of variance for campus responses to discrimination by sexual orientation 67 Table 14 ANOVA of campus responses to discrimination by sexual orientation with larger mean in group one 67 Table 15 Identity level by self identified sexual orientation 69
Climate perceptions/Identity iv Table 1 6 Mean scores for feelings about campus climate by identity stage 70 Table 17 ANOVA for campu s climate f eel ings by identity s tage 72 Table 18 ANOVA for campus climate f eel ings by identity s tage 72 C ontrasted Table 19 Mean scores for administrative responses to GLBT issues by identity 73 level Table 20 ANOVA for campus responses by identity stages 7 4 Table 21 ANOVA for campus responses by identity stages contrasted 7 4 Table 22 Identity stage reliability scores and number of respondents 7 4
Climate perceptions/Identity v The Interrelatedness of Homosexual Identity Development and Perceptions of Campus Climate for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Students at the University of South Florida, Tampa Campus b y Frederic Drury Baker ABSTRACT The purpose of this study was to determine the pe rceptions of campus climate at the University of South Florida, Tampa Campus for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender students. Specifically, the study determined if there was any relationship between level of homosexual identity development acquired a nd perceptions of campus climate. If a relationship existed, it would influence the way that campus climate perceptions would be analyzed in future studies. The population was the undergraduate student body at the University of South Florida taking at lea st six credit hours in the fall semester 2007. An online survey was created with two instruments that have bee n validated in previous studies, one on campus climate and one that identified identity level. The campus instrument was completed by all respond ents, while only those self identifying as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or questioning were directed to the identity level instrument. Of the 31 030 email solicitations sent out to eligible students, 2345 students responded and completed the survey. Of those, 22 8 were from gay, lesbian, bisexual, and questioning students. Research questions sought to reveal the campus climate perceptions of GLBTQ students; to determine if perceptions varied between gay, lesbian,
Climate perceptions/Identity vi bisexual, questioning, and heterosexual students ; and to determine if there was a relationship between homosexual identity development and perceptions of campus climate. Conclusions of the study include perceptions of campus c limate at USF are more positive than those reported in the results of the Na tional Gay and Lesbian Task Force Study conducted by Rankin (2003) Additionally, a d ministrative responses to GLBT i ssues are not visible to students The research also noted that s ignificant differences exist between the perceptions of campus climate fo r GLBTQ students between the heterosexual and gay, lesbian, bi sexual, and questioning student s. Finally, t he level of homosexual identity development attained has a significant relationship with perceptions of campus climate The results of this study will impact the focus and delivery of student services, training, and diversity initiatives at the university. Future opportunities for advancing the knowledge of the subject matter include further development of the GIQ identity development instrument, and expanding the question of identity development and campus climate perceptions to a nationwide study.
Climate perceptions/Identity 1 Chapter One Introduction Introduction College and University administrators have been continually challenged with meeting the needs of an ever chan ging student population. For most of the 20 th century, higher education was made available to an increasingly diverse student population. With these population shifts also came great change in the campus environment for students. Students who have never been exposed to different cultures, races, and religions are suddenly living, learning and working together. Additionally, societal evolution has increased the visibility of groups that were previously hidden, such as gay students; men whose primary sexu al preference are men; lesbian students, women whose primary sexual preference are women, bisexual students; those who do not identify a specific sexual gender preference; and transgender students; who are biologically one gender but who identify as being of another gender. These non heterosexual students have been clustered together in acronyms that often alter the order of the groups, such as GLBT and LGBT. Higher education administrators make decisions each day in an effort to support learning at their institutions. Many of these decisions influence the campus climate of the
Climate perceptions/Identity 2 Kuh, Pa environment of the campus has significant influence on students mastery of general education skills, as well as an understanding of the arts, literature, and humanities. Cove ring 75 institutions of varying type, the impact was also significant when controlling for such variables as academic preparation, socio economic status, and other environmental factors. A positive perception of the academic environment within the class room is a strong indicator of student success and learning (Hirschy & Wilson, 2002). To ensure that students are challenged academically and personally, institutions need to develop and sustain learning environments that challenge, redefine and affirm new perceptions of identity, cultivate student leaders, and foster a sense of community (Tatum, 2004). Additionally, it has been found that students who participate in a classroom that is considered safe increased the range and depth of the topics they learn ed (Holley & Steiner, 2005). The increase in diversity in the American higher education system has impacted the campus climate of higher education institutions across the country. Demographic shifts within institutions have resulted in newly visible, subs tantial populations of students whose academic and developmental needs are different from the perceptions derived from more a traditional view of student populations. Rankin (2003) described the rity of heterosexuality, an obliviousness to the lives and experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, and the presumption that all people are, or should be, heterosexual (p.6).
Climate perceptions/Identity 3 The impact of heterosexism has been documented on college campuses. Several studies have shown that the campus climate for GLBT students is particularly unwelcoming, prejudicial, and even hostile (Rankin, 2003; McRee & Cooper, 1998; Malaney, Williams, & Geller 1997). Rankin (2003) conducted a large, comprehens ive study that included participation from 10 campuses across the country; while McRee & Cooper (1998) and Malaney, Williams, and Geller (1997) studied institutions within the southeast and northeast regions, respectively. All of these studies reported a less than satisfactory campus environment for GLBT students. Previous studies on campus climate for GLBT students (Clark, 2002; Rankin, 2003; Noack, 2004) have focused on the need for a supportive and welcoming university climate in order to assist student education and personal growth. While these studies were significant in informing the public of issues that GLBT students face, this and other studies failed to examine the identity development level of participants and determine the impact that each l evel had on the perceptions of campus climate. This study will measure the campus climate, while also identifying the self reported level of homosexual identity development of respondents as theorized by Cass. Statistical analyses of the interrelatedness of identity development and campus climate perceptions will determine if there is empirical support for such a relationship. If a relationship is found, it will provide a new frame in which to review campus climate and ways to improve it. With identity theory serving as a framework for how a person orients his or her self to the world, it is critical that how he or she views the world is taken into consideration when assessing data on perceptions of campus environment.
Climate perceptions/Identity 4 Negative learning and climate perce ptions affect all students; however, repercussions are especially significant for students who identify as GLBT, as traditional age college students are at a critical time in development of their sexual identity (Levine and Evans, 1991). The importance of identity development has been noted by leading psychosocial theorists such as Chickering and Reisser (1993) who include identity development as an individual factor of growth within their seven vector model. Specific to the GLBT community, recent theoris ts have furthered the understanding of the identity process, and outlined environmental factors that contribute to it (Cass, 1979, Troiden, Conceptual Framework Person environment theories attempt to explain the impact that physical social, organizational, and cultural constructions have on individual and group behavior. A theory extensively cited within student affairs research was proposed by Kurt Lewin a person interacting with the environment. Since its inception, it has been utilized as student development, or psychosocial theories, developed in the 20 th century. Scholarly work, d environment and development into one theory. developmental theory within its parameters. The expand ed theory can be expressed by: B p = f ( P d X E s ).
Climate perceptions/Identity 5 With these additions, B p is the probability of facilitating growth within a specific type of development. P d is the developmental level of a person in a given developmental area, and Es is the external sti muli of the environment attributed to the developmental component being assessed according to the theory (p 32). For the purposes of this study, the equation w as read as follows: (B p ) = the probability of facilitating homosexual identity development is a ( f ) function of the (P d ) level of homosexual identity development acquired by a student and s ). ory will us e an identity development model to evaluate the current le vel of identity assimilation achieved. Identity development models for gay, lesbian, and bisexual people have been developed by many theorists psychological and sociolog ical forces on identity development, as well as the framework in which to explain identity growth. Evans, Forney, & Guido Debrito (1998) describe the interactive processes research studies (Cass, 1984; Brady & Busse, 1994) with more than one acceptable measurement instrument documented. Additionally, Cass is accepted as a leading homosexual identity theory by respected scholars (Chickering & Reisser, 1993 ).
Climate perceptions/Identity 6 f identity development will serve as the theoretical benchmark for this study. theory. Movement through the stages is achieved when the incongruence between behaviors and current sen se of identity is rectified, resulting in reassignment of ones sexual identity over stages. Progress through the stages can be stopped at any stage rectified by retreat f rom identity growth, denying further progress within the model. The model is comprised of six stages, which are sequential in nature. The initial stage, identity confusion is where the first homosexual thoughts and feelings are realized. This process b egins with individuals acknowledging that their behavior may be considered homosexual. After a period of self questioning, if positive feelings remain, the person moves to stage two, identity comparison During this stage, the inner perception of identit y is in conflict with external perceptions of the identity. The person tentatively commits to the possibility of a homosexual self. Positive interactions further growth along the stage, while negative feelings may invoke foreclosure and self hatred. A heterosexual public image is upheld. Stage three of this model is identity tolerance Private self image is tolerated, and Persons in this stage perceive positive acc eptance from homosexuals, and begin to move away from contact exclusively with heterosexual counterparts. By the end of the third
Climate perceptions/Identity 7 fourth stage, identity acceptance is indi cated by behavior that validates homosexual identity. Contact with the gay community is frequent, and initial disclosure to select others occurs. Often this stage serves as a comfort zone for subjects. Passing as heterosexual in the outside world is a r outine coping strategy, while privately operating as a homosexual within specific subgroups. If this behavior continues, the discourse between self perception as homosexual and the public perception as heterosexual, create a shifting of self perceptions a nd assimilation. Movement into stage five is likely. If the discourse is low, identity foreclosure occurs and the subject remains in stage four. The fifth, or identity pride, stage is marked by a shift in perception of the heterosexual world to negative in nature, causing a retreat to contacts only with those who are homosexual. Continued negative responses from heterosexual contacts and positive support from homosexual contacts strengthen this belief. This stage is symbolic of activists, who perceive t he gay subculture as positive and are seeking to challenge the establishment. After the negativity and anger of stage five subsides, the subject moves into stage six, identity synthesis Common values are seen in both the heterosexual and homosexual worl ds, and sexual identity retreats to become merely a part of the entire dominates (p. 234). This final stage is demonstrated by a fully integrated sense of a homosexual s This model has been demonstrated to be an effective portrait of identity for both gay and lesbian populations (Cass, 1984; Brady & Bussey, 1994), and noted to be applicable to the bisexual popul ation as well (Evans, Forney, &Guido DeBrito, 1998).
Climate perceptions/Identity 8 The more recently acknowledged group of transgender people has not been significantly discussed in either model, nor tested empirically to date. It is likely that identity development among transgender people will follow a different path. Therefore, this study will not include that subgroup. Population and Sample The study took ampa campus, and was open to all undergraduate students who are registered for the fall 2006 se mester. The data collected was used to determine how students perceive d the campus climate for GLBT members of the campus, and consist ed of two instruments. The first was a quantitative measurement to assess campus climate that has been v alidated nationally; the second survey determine d identity level as defined by the Cass (1979) model of identity develop ment. These instruments were administered through the internet, hosted by a server that is not associated with the campus that was stud ied. On ly respondents who self identified as anything other than heterosexual or transgender were directed to the second instrument that determines identity development. De scriptive statistics were reported to determine perceptions of climate, whi le infe rential statistical describe any significant correlation between the identity development of GLB individuals and their perceptions of campus climate. Problem Statement National, regional, and local studies have demonstrated that college campus for GLBT students are less than satisfactory in areas of inclusion, safety, and acceptance (Rankin, 2003, McRee and Cooper, 1998, and Cavendish, 2004). Rankin
Climate perceptions/Identity 9 (2003) conducted a nationwide study of campus climate at colleges and universities, in conjuncti on with the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. With its national scope, the study quickly became seen as a benchmark to assess institutional climate perceptions for GLBT students. Noack (2004) utilized a modified version of this instrument to determine the perceptions of climate at Texas A&M, and recently the University of Illinois Chicago hired Dr. Rankin to conduct a more in depth study in the Spring of 2005 (S.R. Rankin, personal communication, March 17, 2006). In 2002, the University of South Flori da (USF) conducted a campus climate survey of faculty and staff administered via the internet with an instrument developed in house prior to the Rankin national study. The results of this study were released in spring 2004 and showed that a majority of re spondents felt that the climate of USF was not supportive or even tolerant of GLBT students. Only 42% of the respondents felt that USF provided opportunities to increase understanding of GLBT issues, and 66.7 percent of GLBT respondents felt that they avo ided disclosing sexuality for a fear of consequences (Cavendish, 2004). This impacts the survey was of great assistance in determining that a problem existed in the eyes of the faculty and staff, the instrument was too broad to properly investigate the factors that may have led GLBT faculty and staff to feel unsupported or even unsafe in being public with their sexual orientation on campus. Additionally, the sur vey was not administered to students, who make up the largest percentage of any campus population. What is not known is the current campus climate at the University of South Florida as perceived by GLBT students, and if membership in these particular subgr oups
Climate perceptions/Identity 10 (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender) has a relationship with the perceptions of campus climate. Additionally, homosexual identity development level as identified by students has not been investigated as possible factor in perceptions of campus clima te at this campus or in previous studies. The work of Vivienne Cass (1979, 1984) has shown that environment plays a central role in the integration of a homosexual identity into ones overall perception of self for gay, lesbian, and possibly bisexual stude nts. Empirical research has validated that point; however, few if any studies have reversed the study, attempting to quantify the relationships between that homosexual identity development level and perceptions of the campus climate for GLB students. Tra nsgender students have more complex identity factors that have not been quantified within the Cass model, and will not be included in that inquiry. With a central construct of identity theory being how people orient themselves to the outside world, this co ncept of identity is likely to have an impact on how one perceives the environment around them. Significance of Study In researching the subject of campus climate, key theoretical models and research studies have emerged as significant. The college year s are critical in the development of student identity (Chickering and Reiser, 1993) particularly for students who are developing identities as gay, lesbians, and bisexuals (Levine and Evans, 1991). Campus climates that are supportive of underrepresented g roups can assist in that development (Rankin, 2003). Particularly, campus climate has been theorized as having a significant impact on the development of homosexual identity development (Cass, 1984, Levine & Evans, 1991). Person environment theory, compl emented by a homosexual identity
Climate perceptions/Identity 11 development model, provide d the theoretical foundation that frame d this research project. If a significant relationship between the two theories was established, it will provide a new factor to be considered when analyzing data in future studies. By understanding the current perceptions of campus climate and the developmental levels that shape students perceptions, administrat ors could develop an intentional program to impact the campus climate and better meet the needs of an often overlooked student population. This will not only enhance the environment for classroom learning, but will assist GLBT students in progressing towards a fully integrated identity as a non heterosexual person. With institutions of higher educatio n being challenged by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (1995) to create and articulate a commitment to the promotion of diversity, this study served as an indicator of how inclusive GLBT students perceive the USF campus environm ent to be. Additionally, it identified if gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender students perceive the campus climat e differently. Finally, it determine d if identity development level of students has significant relationship with perceptions of campus climate. With documented evidence that the social and relational environment impacts students learning and data confirming that the environment at institutions of higher education is less than positive, administrators are obligated to determine the factors that im pact campus climate perceptions. Further understanding of these perceptions can lead to the development of a concrete action plan to address the issue of climate, and assist in meeting the educational goals of colleges and universities in the process.
Climate perceptions/Identity 12 Re search Q uestions 1. What are the perceptions among GLBT students of the campus climate for GLBT students? 2. Is campus climate for GLBT students at USF perceived differently by heterosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender students? 3. Does the identity level of GLB students relate to their perceptions of campus climate? Delimitations The populations for which this study will be applicable will be undergraduate college students at the University of South Florida, Tampa Campus who are tak ing at least six credit hours in the fall 2006 term. The instruments assess ed the perception s of campus cl imate for GLBT students and sought to determine if a relationship exists between subgroup membership, identity development, and perceptions of campus climate. While the instrument and procedures can be replicated elsewhere, the factors that lead to campus climate perceptions are unique to this campus, the time of the study, and student population studied. Limitations One significant limitation to the study is that it is dependent on students to self identify and disclose their sexual orientation. Many stigmas are placed upon students who label themselves anything but heterosexual, most of which are negative. Therefore, the ability for students to be completely forthright in their disclosure of sexual identity is not assured, thereby affecting internal validity. Additionally, the sample utilized for
Climate perceptions/Identity 13 statistical analyses may not be fully representative of the entire population at USF due to the stigmat a discussed above. To obtain as representative a sample as possible, the survey was distributed to the entire student population who are enrolled in a minimum of six credit hours. I t is expected that students who are more comfortable with their sexual or ientation are more likely to participate than those who choose to conceal their orientation, possibly impacting the results, particularly in regards to equal numbers of e the respondents in those categories, so reliability of the GIQ for those stages is unknown. Finally, there is no control over any significant events that may occur on the campus during the time of the climate.
Climate perceptions/Identity 14 Chapter Two Review of Literature Introduction This section will outline research studies that have been influential on the topics of campus c limate in general, campus climate for GLBT students, and identity development of GLB students. First, the importance of campus environments to overall learning will be discussed, followed by studies of climate in general as well as those targeted at speci fic sub populations within the institution. Greater attention will be focused on the research studies that provide background knowledge to the variables investigated in this study: campus climate perceptions for GLBT students and identity development amo ng GLB students. When appropriate, implications of each study that influenced the design of this investigation will be discussed. Literature Regarding Campus C limate The intentional design of learning environments goes beyond the bricks and mortar used to construct the facilities that house classrooms. Student affairs practitioners as a whole have identified serving the needs of all members of the campus community as an ethical practice, embracing diversity rather than narrowing its scope (American Co llege Personnel Association, 1990). Campus climate, as defined by Bauer (1998), is t must
Climate perceptions/Identity 15 incorporate an understanding of student motivations and backgrounds in order to be truly successful. To better understand our student population, many institutions of higher education participate in the Cooperative Institutional Research Program (C IRP), described by Cress and Sax (1998) and housed at the University of California at Los Angeles. Initiated in 1966, this annual study of incoming freshman from across the country is used to profile the background characteristics, attitudes, values, educ ational achievement, and future goals of incoming students (p.65). This longitudinal study tracks trends, slow and/or rapid change, and is used in determining the expectations and perceptions that students have regarding their upcoming college experience. Historically, non heterosexuals have been operating in unsafe environments. In the United States, growing political unrest and violence against gay citizens caused the federal government to enact legislation that would track violence acts perpetrated du e to sexual orientation (Comstock, 1991). For the college student, the perceptions of feeling safe are two fold. Students have a need to feel safe from physical harm, and also feel respected by their peers within the educational setting to fully interact within the learning environment (Holley & Steiner, 2005). The value of a positive campus environment, particularly the social and relational aspects, has been shown to be a significant indicator of student learning. Kuh et al (1997) studied educational p rocess indicators that impacted students by motivating them to spend more time in behaviors known to support learning. Results included the fact that cooperation among students, a key factor in the definition of campus climate, was a significant indicator of student gains in this study. Without a
Climate perceptions/Identity 16 learning gains will be compromised. Another key consideration when discussing learning and environment is safety. Physic al safety within the campus environment is a critical issue for GLBT students. Finn and McNeil (1987) reported that gay and lesbian people are more often targeted for hate crimes than other underrepresented groups. The environment outside our campuses cr eates an assumption that the campus climate is similar. Unless steps are taken to demonstrate that campus climates are more accepting than general society, student learning will be impacted. Holley and Steiner (2005) studied the characteristics of facult y, peers, the physical building, and self that influenced a feeling of safety, or a feeling of insecurity, within the classroom. Findings suggested that developing guidelines for classroom interaction that are based on respect for individual views and ope n discussions foster the type of environment that a majority of students will find safe. The researchers note that striving for a safe classroom may be unachievable due to the 61) classroom is a goal that should be given priority. The importance of a positive campus environment was studied by Cheng (2004), who sought to gain insight into community at a private institution in New York City. The survey was web based, contained tw enty six questions, and was administered to freshman through juniors within the colleges of arts and sciences as well as engineering. The tudent responses varied on a four point scale to each
Climate perceptions/Identity 17 question. Thirty eight percent of the eligible students participated in the study. Cheng and what can educators an d administrators do to build community on campus? The results were analyzed in a three part process, including descriptive statistics to demonstrate overall reactions to specific aspects of campus life. A second process included an exploratory factor an alysis to determine underlying dimensions of community issues. Finally, multiple regressions were run to examine the relationships between community associated variables and students overall sense of campus community. Results indicated that for students to feel a sense of community, they require to be treated in a caring way, to be valued as individuals, as well as being accepted as a community was a feeling of loneline ss. The researcher challenges administrators to engage students and faculty in learning, foster positive relationships among ethnic groups, and provide an open environment where free expression is encouraged and respected. Campus climate, especially in terms of studies of diverse populations, is a hot topic on many campuses (Shenkle, Snyder, and Bauer, 1998). Studies have involved assessing the entire campus for cultural diversity sensitivity (Morrow, Burris Kitchen, & Der Karabetian, 2000), and individ ual campus or specific cultural subgroups (Rankin & Reason, 2005; Noack, 2004; Rankin 2003; Cress & Ikeda, 2003; Clark 2002). Using both quantitative and qualitative methods, clear information about minority experiences within institutions of higher learn ing is discussed. These studies describe multiple experiences
Climate perceptions/Identity 18 within a similar context for members of unique and separate minority groups. While each study is unique in design and sample, specific perceptions of campus climate are clearly similar. Using a mixed methods approach, Morrow, Burris Kitchen, & Der Karabetian (2000) studied climate at the University of LaVerne, with the intention of obtaining specific insight into climate perceptions among various minority groups. The researchers used quantita tive data obtained by two measures: the ACT student survey and a locally designed instrument to assess the climate for diversity. One question was taken from the co very satisfied with racial harmony on campus. Significant differences were noted in the way that individual racial groups experienced discrimination, with Blacks and Lati finding race more of a barrier than Caucasian students. A second portion of this study used qualitative focus groups in an effort to complement and enhance the qualitative data. The researchers found that the data obtained from focus groups supporte d the statistics generated quantitatively, and added to the understanding of the statistics due to specific examples of why students answered questions the way that they did. While several minority groups have documented less than ideal campus environmen ts for their specific group, unique issues are presented within the GLBT community. GLBT students are often faced with being a member of two minority groups: one based on race, another by sexual orientation. Evans and Wall (1991) describe the nuances of GLBT student experiences in areas such as residence halls, Greek
Climate perceptions/Identity 19 organizations and GLBT student organizations, as well as address secondary issues of race and gender that magnify GLBT issues. Race and sexuality issues are present at historically black co lleges and universities (Black issues in higher education, 2002) as well as traditionally white universities. Rasmussen (2004) discusses the choices people of two minorities make in regards to going public with their sexuality. Akanke, who wrote of her ex choice I wish to make. Nevertheless, because of the pervasiveness of racism, it is one that 04). It has been documented that GLBT students face an unsafe campus climate at universities across the country (McRee & Cooper, 1998; Rankin 2003). Hurtado, Carter, and Kardia (1998) explain that students within this population are subject to a hostile campus climate, and reported the following problems as presented by DeVries and LaSalle (1993): fears for their physical safety, frequent occurrences of disparaging remarks, anti gay graffiti, and a high degree of false information and stereotypes in stud ent attitudes. Additionally, they noted the lack of visibility of gay role models, conflicts in class regarding the topic of sexual orientation or responses to it when a student comes out in class, and students feeling as if they need to censor themselves in classroom environments or academic activities for fear of repercussions. Finally, they noted a lack of integration of sexual orientation into the curriculum, and a lack of institutional policies addressing these climates issues coupled with a lack of awareness of such policies when they do exist.
Climate perceptions/Identity 20 The issues faced by GLBT students on college campuses are unique to their minority group, and therefore have attracted the attention of a number of researchers. Perhaps the most well known study was conducte d by Rankin (2003). This nationwide survey of campus climate for GLBT students was sponsored by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF). Thirty institutions were solicited to participate in the survey, with fourteen actually completing the entire process. Four of the institutions were private, ten were public. All the institutions had visible GLBT centers located within the campus. 1,669 total surveys were received from students, faculty, and staff/administrators, both online and in paper format s. The instrument consisted of thirty six quantitative questions, with a mix of likert and check box questions. Additionally, one open ended question asked for any suggestions to improve campus climate at that particular institution. At the conclusion of the study, Rankin completed a factor analysis. Within the theme of lived oppressive experiences, results showed that fifty one percent of respondents failed to disclose their sexual orientation for fear of repercussions, and nineteen percent feared for their physical safety due to their sexual orientation gender identity (Rankin, 2003, p 24). Under perceptions of anti GLBT oppression on campus, thirty six percent of GLBT undergraduate students reported that they have experienced harassment within the pa st year for being GLBT. Finally, under institution actions, forty one percent of respondents indicated that the campus was not addressing issues of sexual orientation and gender identity. The Rankin study was part of a long term project through the Nationa l Gay and Lesbian Task Force, which began gathering data on campus climate in 1988. The 2003
Climate perceptions/Identity 21 study was one of the largest and most comprehensive studies on the subject, and Dr. Rankin has adapted this instrument for use at other institutions and in severa l dissertation studies. Due to the scope of this nationwide study, follow up projects have used these national figures as benchmarks for comparisons with their own institutions (Noack, 2004) Noack (2004) studied the campus climate for gay, lesbian, bisex ual, and transgender students at Texas A&M University as perceived by the faculty and staff of the institution. The study sought to identify and describe the current campus climate and look at differences in perceptions based on university position, demogr aphic subgroup, and the amount of interaction with members of the GLBT community. Surveying a random sample of administrators, faculty, and professional staff, she administered a standard measure of campus climate for minorities, the assessment of climate for underrepresented groups developed by Susan R. Rankin, PhD (p.iii). Out of 1020 surveys distributed, the response rate was forty seven percent. Findings included that, when compared to standardized national campus climate te was more negative for these students. Additionally, significant interactions between race and perception of climate of GLBT students were noted, indicating experiences were also influenced by being a member of a racial and sexual minority. Finally, th behaviors towards GLBT persons were positively influenced by the frequency of contact that person had with members of the targeted population. Campus climate was also studied at the University of Ma ssachusetts, Lowell (UML). Clark (2002) interviewed both students and faculty in order to ascertain the
Climate perceptions/Identity 22 climate for GLBT students and to determine any progress within the climate from an earlier study, which concluded the invisibility of the GLBT populatio n contributed to the homophobia on campus. Since 1994, several initiatives had helped erase that invisibility, including the establishment of a GLBT center on campus, a gay straight employee network, and a safe zone program to educate faculty and staff ab out how to provide resources for GLBT students. To measure the changes in climate, twelve faculty/staff and eight students participated in interviews, which sought information in five general campus climate areas: feelings of acceptance and inclusion; re spect; visibility; fairness; and safety. The sample population was chosen based on two criteria: because their were known to be GLBT or GLBT allies, or they held pivotal positions within the university that impacted campus climate, as staff from residenc e life, campus police, counseling center, athletics, student activities, as well as faculty members. Students were selected for the study after responding to a call for participants advertised throughout campus and through the student GLBT group, Spectrum Interviews were completed during the summer and fall of 2001. The sample proved to be strongly female, with only two of twelve students and one of eight faculty/staff members identifying as male (p.19). The results indicate that, overall, the campus wa s judged to be reasonably supportive of the GLBT community and students felt that the climate was accepting despite the fact that several anti gay incidents occurred while the data was being collected. The researcher explains these incidents as a backlash to the growing visibility of the GLBT population on the campus. The incidents were viewed as random acts of
Climate perceptions/Identity 23 graffiti that were not targeted at individuals. The university administration or student government offered no formal response to the series of ba cklash incidents. Ironically, despite the acts, most students described the climate as satisfactory, and felt that university officials were supportive. Climate studies have also been done within the southeastern region of the country. McRee & Cooper ( 1998) studied the campus environment for GLB students at public and private institutions with the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) region three. Transgender student issues were not included in the sample. The authors devel oped surveys that were then modified by five chief student affairs officers outside of region three. Survey questions were a series of open ended quantitative questions with an opportunity for open ended responses afforded beneath each quantitative respon se. The anonymous instrument was mailed to voting delegates at each of the 262 institutions within the region. 122 surveys were returned, for a 46.5% return rate. Variables studied included location and activity level of organizations: use of campus res ources, campus funding, academic support, contact with faculty and staff, GLBT organizations relationship to other departments, availability of printed resources, number of hate crimes, and non discrimination statements. Results for selected variables stu died are outlined as follows: Campus funding : Institutional funding was reported by sixty four percent of the organizations, with the largest provider of funds being from student government organizations (seventy nine percent).
Climate perceptions/Identity 24 Academic support and contac t with faculty and staff : Only eight percent of the institutions had gay or lesbian study courses, while fourteen percent reported GLB content being present in regular courses. Three fourths of the schools that presented GLB content were public. Availa bility of printed resources : Only eleven percent of institutions responding reported that library collection policies and active subscriptions supported GLB interests. Hate crimes : The mean number of hate crimes reported per institution was 5.3. Within the study, hate crimes included gay bashing, faculty reprimand for homophobic behavior, roommate harassment, vandalism, destruction of property, and verbal assaults and threatening phone calls. Non discrimination statements : Thirty nine percent of the re spondent These results are similar to the results reported in the Rankin (2003) national study. Additionally, significantly low responses occurred in the areas of interest outlined, lived oppressed experiences and university response to issues of sexual orientation and gender identity. Finally, this study further supports the theme areas that were factored in the Rankin study, and will be addressed in the design of this investigation Limitations to the study included that some respondents had to answer questions limited knowledge of contact with those services. Another factor that may skew the resul ts was that a majority of the institutions that responded to the study were larger public institutions that contained more human and programmatic resources for students
Climate perceptions/Identity 25 than other schools, as well as more members of NASPA. A majority of the conclusions out lined above were gleamed from the quantitative answers to the surveys. Conclusions suggest that institutions need to do a better job of addressing the number of hate crimes to increase the level of satisfaction with the learning environment provided by th e institution. Additionally, the authors outline the need for more faculty staff mentoring programs, which have been proven in previous studies to be effective. Only forty percent of respondents currently have such a program in place. Central Florida un iversities are not immune from the heterosexist paradigm that has been demonstrated by campus climates studies outside the state. The University of North Florida student government president was accused of bias when he denied funding to a program sponsore d by the campus gay and lesbian student organization. (Pride, SG, 2004). While the funding was ultimately restored, the student government president felt he needed to veto the funding due to his moral beliefs. These studies demonstrate that campus cli mate for GLBT students are generally less than satisfactory, with unique problems within the overall climate being exacerbated on individual campuses. While much has been written about the state of climate today, few studies have been done that measure th e impact of interventions to improve the perceptions of climate on campus. A common intervention that is seen on a large number of college campuses is a safe zone program, which identifies supportive faculty and staff within the university community (Tubb s, 2004). Addressing this need, Evans (2002) for faculty and staff five years earlier. The goals of the program included increased
Climate perceptions/Identity 26 visibility for LGBT people and conc erns, and for increased support and awareness of the issues facing LGBT people. The safe zone program consisted of faculty and staff volunteering to display a sticker symbolizing that they were safe individuals to discuss GLBT issues. Due to the goals o f the program, interested participants did not receive formal training on how to be an ally to these groups, but received an informational brochure about the implications of posting this sticker. As this was an initial study into the efficacy of such ment or programs, an exploratory, qualitative approach was used based on a constructivist philosophy. An ethnographic methodology was used to describe and interpret the culture on the campus. The research team consisted of a heterosexual lead evaluator, as wel l as three members of the LGBT student population, including a lesbian graduate student, gay male undergraduate, and a transgender undergraduate. Data collection was obtained by extensive immersion in the field, from spring of 1998 and into the summer. F inal observations were made in the fall after a preliminary report was shared with the university community. Ethnographic interviews were used, with each interview being recorded and transcribed. Additionally, student research team members canvassed all academic buildings on campus for the amount of safe zone stickers visible in each, and to get a sense of the climate portrayed by other artifacts. Project planners, participants, and LGBT students were interviewed to assess the impact of the program on the ir perceptions of campus climate. Additionally, initial interviewees were also asked for names of others who might provide different or
Climate perceptions/Identity 27 interesting perspectives regarding the impact of the program. Forty two individuals were interviewed (p.526). Data ana lysis included the coding of all transcripts of interviews, with each member of the research team agreeing to the coding categories. These included perceived goals of the project, sources of information regarding the project, motivation for posting sticke rs, impressions of the sticker, reactions to the process for obtaining a sticker, issues within posting stickers, a debate that arose within student government, positive and negative effects of the project on campus, personal effects of the project, intera ctions and reactions of others, personal reactions, perceptions of LGBT reactions, perceptions of heterosexual reactions, perceptions of administrators reactions and suggestions. These categories where then broken down by respondent groups such as LGBT male and female students, LGBT faculty and staff, male and female heterosexual faculty and staff, and male and female heterosexual students (p.526 527). Findings included a higher visibility of LGBT individuals, a more positive outlook on climate, and inc reased perceptions of support for LGBT students. This study is significant in the overall concept of this study, as it shows the impact that campus interventions can have on improving the climate for GLBT students. It validates that indeed university pr ograms can alter and improve the climate through education and assimilation programs. Additionally, it is a factor to consider when making comparisons between institutions relative to overall campus climate. From reviewing the literature on campus climate it is clear that a negative perception of campus climate can impede the learning environment in many dimensions,
Climate perceptions/Identity 28 ranging from identity development to campus engagement and safety. Thus it becomes the duty of administrators within higher education; it is our duty to work to ensure that each student has the best possible experience while engaged with our academic community. Only then are we truly working towards a more pluralistic society that accepts and values our similarities and our differences. Liter ature Regarding Identity D evelopment A key component of feeling accepted within a campus environment is respect for the development of identity and its impact on dev elopment. Development of overall identity may be impacted by the level of identity achieved through assimilation of minority subgroup identity. A comprehensive model of minority identity development is advanced by Atkinson, Morten, and Sue (1999) Based on stages, this theory describes the assimilation and accommodation of ones ethnic identity in the context of a greater society. Stages include: Conformity where people hold a negative view of their ethnic group and buy into labels placed on them by s ociety, Dissonance marked by confusion of beliefs and values due to negative experiences based on ethnicity Resistance time when white culture is rejected by the individual and embracing of cultural traditions associated with their ethnicity I ntrospection people see themselves as individuals, and create their own assessment of positives and negatives of majority and minority
Climate perceptions/Identity 29 cultures Synergistic Awareness the level at which ones individual identity draws minority cultural sources, as well as understanding the majority culture has positive influences as well (p.27 35) Another category of students whose oppression can impact their ability to develop positive identity is gay, lesbian, and bisexual students. Bilodeau and Renn (2005) rev iewed current identity development models that frame the integration of GLBT the beginning of sexual orientation identity theories (Cass, 1979), the authors expand the discussion beyond stage measurements into non Additionally, the impact of being a member of another underrepresented group and its impact on GLBT identity development was discussed. The models range from psychosocial mod els such as Cass (1979, 1984) to specific explanation of GLBT identity environmental factors into the formation of identity development. Finally, non empirical theories that document perspectives of non heterosexual identities (feminist, postmodern, and queer) are outlined. One of the earliest models of gay identity development was proposed by Cass in 1979, and validated by her research in 1984. The model is comprised of six stages, which are sequential in nature. The theory is based on two assumptions: that identity is acquired through a developmental process and that the locus for stability of, and change in, behavior lies in the interaction process that occurs betwe en individuals and their
Climate perceptions/Identity 30 environment. The model uses a framework of interpersonal congruence theory, which holds that stability and change in behavior are dependent on the congruence or nment. Stability is maintained when the perception of the individual and environment is congruent; growth is achieved by resolving the incongruence between ones identity and the environmental definition of that identity. The initial stage, identity conf usion, is where the first homosexual thoughts and feelings are realized. After a period of self questioning, if positive feelings remain, the student moves to stage two, identity comparison. The inner perception of identity is in conflict with external p erceptions of the identity. Positive interactions further growth along the stage, while negative feelings may invoke disclosure and self hatred. A heterosexual public image is upheld. Stage three of this model is identity tolerance. Private self image i s tolerated, and contact with gay community increases, while conflict exists with public image. Moving to the fourth stage, identity acceptance is indicative of behavior that validates homosexual identity. Contact with the gay community is frequent, an d initial disclosure to select others occurs. Often this stage is comfortable for people to stay. If continued discourse between self perception and that of others is high, movement into phase five is likely. This identity pride stage is marked by a shi ft in perception of the heterosexual world that is negative in nature, causing a retreat to contacts with those who are homosexual. Continued negative responses from heterosexual contacts strengthen this belief. After the negativity and anger of stage fi ve subsides, the student moves into stage
Climate perceptions/Identity 31 six, identity synthesis. Commonalities of values are seen in both the heterosexual and homosexual worlds, and sexual identity retreats to a part of the entire identity, rather than the main component. As a whole, growth and development through these stages occurs through awareness, exploration, and acceptance (p. 187 188). Cass (1984) conducted a quantitative research study based on her theoretical model of identity development in the hopes of validating her theor etical model proposed in 1979. The sample was made up of 227 subjects, who were identified through private social functions, a homosexual rights march, counseling centers, newspaper advertisements, and personal acquaintances. The research design did not require random selection of participants. 109 males and 69 females returned the responses for a 78.4% response rate. Only 12 respondents out of the 178 received were unable to be defined by one stage of the model, and those surveys were excluded from the final analysis. The biographical information provided by the respondents determined that there was no significant difference in any of the stages by gender, occupation, religious upbringing, and age of first labeling of self as a homosexual (p.155). The study consisted of two instruments, a stage allocation measure and homosexual identity questionnaire. The first instrument contained seven one paragraph descriptions of possible ways respondents feel about homosexuality and their perceptions of the role i t plays within their overall identity. The seven choices represent each of the six stages as well as a pre stage paragraph. Instructions were to select the paragraph that he
Climate perceptions/Identity 32 homosexual identity questionnaire contained 210 questions that framed the components outlined in her theoretic framework. In scoring the questionnaire, the researcher predicted how members of each stage would respond the each question, which was compare d with the self allocation of stage made in the first instrument. If a respondent self identified as being in stage one, the answer to the question that most resembled a stage one answer would be correct, while all others incorrect. This was repeated for each question in the survey, and was unique to the self identified stage as reported in the first instrument. Each identity questionnaire was then scored through a computer based answer key created for the stage identified. The across groups hypothesis was that subjects at each stage would obtain the highest scores on the profile of their particular self identified stage compared with other stages, and that scores would decrease progressively as you moved away from the correct stage (p.158) Results were derived by determining the number of correct scores in relation to the self identified stage, and the dissonance between that stage and correct answers for the other five stages. Respondents from stages one, five, and six were significant at the .05 level Stages two and four were very nearly significant at the same level, but stage three respondents were unsupportive of the hypothesis (p. 159). This was explained as being impacted by the similarity and reversal of scores of profiles one and two, and for profiles five and six as they moved further from their actual identity stage. Additionally, the stage three group followed the predicted order of means on five of six stages, but the differences in the means were too small to be significant.
Climate perceptions/Identity 33 The results v alidate that participants were more likely to acknowledge the hypothesized ideal description of their stage more closely than other stages in terms of their behavior. There is also a greater tendency for participants at a particular stage to show similari ty to their hypothesized profile when compared with subjects at other stages. This suggests that individuals who acknowledge homosexuality to be present in model. Add itionally, the findings also support that the grouping of individuals by stage will follow the order predicted by the theoretical model. Later research on sexual identity development provided another, more compact, instrument that was validated as determ ining the identity level according to the Cass model. Brady and Busse (1994) developed an instrument known as the Gay Identity Questionnaire (GIQ) that was designed to measure sexual identity development. Made up exclusively of true/false questions, the forty five question survey delineates seven questions that are indicative of each identity stage, along with three questions mixed in to validate the existence of same sex attraction. The instrument was validated during a study that consisted of 225 respo ndents, who had a median age of 28.8 years. The sample was gathered in southern California in 1983, and the majority of respondents were non Hispanic white men. The entire sample indicated that they have had homosexual thoughts, feelings, or sexual actio ns. 196 of the 225 respondents were included in the data analysis, with twenty nine subjects excluded due to either being in a stage that had too few subjects to be validated or the responses indicated a dual stage result.
Climate perceptions/Identity 34 Results of the study indicated that the instrument was valid for four out of the six stages within the Cass model, with stages one and two obtaining too few responses to be statistically quantified. The researchers suggest new ways of recruiting subjects who are reluctant to participat e in studies in which homosexual labels are involved, as individuals in stages one and two of the model have not yet self identified as a member of the population despite having some feelings that would be objectively labeled non heterosexual. Additionall y, the data suggested that the homosexual identity formation may actually be stated more simply as a two stage process, with stage one consisting of six. Other researchers have used t he Cass model for formal research on the impact of identity development on other variables. Al Timini (2003) studied the effect of identity development and perceived university environment on the adjustment to college of gay, lesbian, and bisexual studen ts at universities in the United States. The design of the study included three separate instruments: the gay identity questionnaire (GIQ), the student adaptation to college questionnaire (SACQ), and the university environment scale (UES). The GIQ is a 45 question true/false quantitative measure that assigns respondents to a stage level within the Cass model; The SACQ is a self reported measure of college adjustment, and contains 67 questions with 9 point Likert scales as possible answers; the UES is se lf reported 16 question measure that uses Likert scales based on a range of seven. Participants were obtained by contacting colleges and universities in the US that were listed in online directories of LGBT programs across the country. Center directors
Climate perceptions/Identity 35 we re sent a letter encouraging them to promote the study to their students. Packets of the three surveys were then sent to center directors to be distributed to their students. Only gay, lesbian, and bisexual students within each institution were considere d for the sample. Snowball sampling within each institution was encouraged by the investigator as way to reach out to other students who may not have been affiliated with a LGBT program at the institution. The students then sent back the packets to the re searcher. 325 survey packets were mailed out, with 102 being returned for a response rate of 32%. Results indicated a correlation with a particular stage of identity development, orsed in stage was true for all but one stage of the adjustment scale. The researcher explains this phenomenon by the fact that stage three deals with students who correlations also exist between perceived university environment and overall college adjustment. Perceptions of university environment were found to be the most significant predictor of college adjustment even after testing a number of predictor variables. This study reinforces previous research that indicates that perceptions of campus climate can impact the rate at which students adjust to the college environm ent, and provides interesting data in terms of identity development and its role in adjustment to a new environment. Clearly, a more targeted study that isolates the interrelatedness of identity development and campus climate would provide more useful dat a for student affairs practitioners to guide their work.
Climate perceptions/Identity 36 development that defines identity as a social construction, based on the experiences of the individual within their environment. Rather than establishing sequential stages as Cass define ones sexual identity. They include: 1. Exiting heterosexual identity shedding the belief that one is heteros exual and the ability to express to others that they are GLBT. 2. Developing a personal lesbian/gay/bisexual identity status the process of le challenging the internal stereotypes of what the gay experience is with others within the community. 3. Developing a lesbian/gay/bisexual societal identity the process of establishing a network of people who are accepting of their sexual orientation and to whom the individual has disclosed their orientation. 4. Becoming a lesbian/gay/bisexual offspring the process of coming out to parental figures and the redefinition of that relationship following the disclosure. 5. Developing a lesbian/gay/bisexual intima cy status the ability to enter into an intimate non heterosexual relationship. Noted challenges include the social and legal issues surrounding homosexuality, which can be a barrier to full growth within this process.
Climate perceptions/Identity 37 6. Entering a lesbian/gay/bisexual com munity the process of joining and engaging the social and/or political arena of the gay community. This process involves substantial risk to those in less than supportive environments. The strengths of this model are that it takes into account the div ergent personal experiences and continually changing environment that GLBT individuals operate in. The focus on process, instead of stages, is also more adaptive to many more people. The shortcomings, however, include the fact that any assessment of this model would take a significant longitudinal study, as the model progresses over a lifetime. In addition, the fact that no study has validated the constructs of the theory, and no instrument has been a valid measure of the processes of the theory, makes t his identity theory incongruent with the design of the study. Therefore, the Cass (1984) model of identity development, along with the Brady Busse (1994) gay identity questionnaire, will be used in determining the identity progression of the subjects in t he study. Identity development, as a psychological construct impacted significantly by environment, is a complex area to study. Many theories exist in an attempt to explain how individuals come to view themselves in relation to the outer world. GLBT in dividuals have a unique situation in which their identity undergoes significant moderation outside of the realm that heterosexual people experience. Determining if any relationship exists between identity development and how students perceive their learni ng environment is an important step in furthering the understanding of the many complex factors that make up perceptions of campus climate.
Climate perceptions/Identity 38 Chapter Three Method Introduction The following sections will outline the research questions that are driving the study, as well as outline the methodology; including variables, instruments, population and sample, as well as data collection and analysis procedures. All methodology outlined within this chapter has been approved by the University of South Florida Institutional Review Board (IRB). Research Questions There are three research questions that were addressed within this study: 1. What are the perceptions among GLBT students of the campus climate for GLBT students? 2. Is campus climate for GLBT stu dents at USF perceived differently by heterosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender students? 3. Does the identity level of GLB students relate to the perceptions of campus climate? Research Design This study expands on previous research comple ted on campus climate for GLBT students as well as an identity development model for that population. Designed as a quantitative study comprised of two individual instruments, the instruments employed were a Campus Climate Survey developed by Rankin (2003 ) and the Gay Identity
Climate perceptions/Identity 39 Questionnaire (GIQ) designed by Brady & Busse (1994). The Rankin instrument provided data on campus climate perceptions for GLBT students, and has been used in a nationwide study as well as individual campus environments. The Brad y/Busse model assessed the level of homosexual identity that has been attained by respondents according to the identity model theorized by Cass (1979). Both instruments were accessible online through an off campus provider, snapsurveys.com. Respondents w ere provided the instruments simultaneously. All students began with the Rankin climate survey. Only students who self identified as any category other than heterosexual or transgender on the Rankin survey were administered the GIQ after the climate surv ey was completed. Population and Sample The population being studied is undergraduate university students who are taking at least one class at the University of South Florida, Tampa campus. The sample consisted of undergraduate university students from t he University of South Florida, Tampa campus, taking at least six credit hours in the 2006 fall term, who completed the surveys. 2,429 students responded to the campus climate instrument. Of that sample, 225 GLB students responded to the identity questio nnaire as well. sequentially to ensure that data can be correlated between the two instruments. Each student who was registered for six or more credits in the 2006 fall term was sent a n email asking them to complete the survey in December of 2006, with a follow up email sent out January 11, 2007. Statistical power was achieved by these electronic mail solicitations,
Climate perceptions/Identity 40 eliminating the need for any intentional snowball sampling of the GLBT student population. with a medium effect size of .25, alpha set at .05. To ensure adequate power for the planned repeated measures ANOVA for question two and one way ANOVA fo r question three, a minimum sample of 210 respondents completing both instruments was needed Of the 22 8 responses received for the identity question, 212 were complete and 198 passed the validity check within the GIQ and were assigned to stages Variabl es In answering question one, I conducted a descriptive analysis focusing on the three areas of inquiry noted in the Rankin (2003) study; lived oppressive experiences, perceptions of anti GLBT oppression on campus, and institutional actions. For question two, an inferential analysis was conducted between the variables of campus climate perceptions and the self identified sexual orientation of students to determine if a relationship existed. Finally, question three was analyzed inferentially by determinin g if a relationship existed between the variables of campus climate perceptions within the Rankin areas of inquiry noted above and the six identity level s as outlined by Vivienne Cass. Instruments/Measures Two instruments were used to gather data for this study. The first, The Assessment of Campus Climate for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Persons was used for assessing campus environment. Rankin (2002) used the instrument in a
Climate perceptions/Identity 41 national survey on campus climate for GLBT students. The assessment contained three areas of inquiry: Campus experiences; feelings about campus climate; campus response to GLBT issues; and a section on background demographic information. Section one, campus experiences, had 8 questions which were closed ended, and offered students 2 9 choices for their response. Section two, feelings about campus climate, had eight questions with a five point likert type scale responses ranging from very unlikely to very likely. Section three, campus response, had eight questions with a five point likert type scale responses ranging from strongly agree through strongly disagree. Section four, had eleven questions about demographic information, including a question that asks the respondent to self identify their sexual orientation. On e final open ended question asked for suggestions for improving campus climate. A copy of the inst rument is located in Appendix A. I selected this instrument for several reasons. First, it has been used nationally in a study that will serve as an effecti ve benchmark to assess the climate of University of South Florida against other campuses and established national norms. Second, Noack (2004) used it in another study similar in scope at Texas A& M University. Rankin and colleagues reported adequate inte rnal consistency reliability for the entire measure, with correlation coefficients between r= .45 r =.60. Similarly, the stability of the instrument has been assured by experts in the field who consulted with Rankin on the national study. Finally, discr ete factors were isolated by a factor analysis conducted by the researcher. Fifteen items were used for the analysis: Questions 2 1 through 2 8 and Questions 3 1 through 3 7. The survey questions in Part 1 (Campus experiences) were not analyzed,
Climate perceptions/Identity 42 as factor analysis is not appropriate for dichotomous items; factor analysis is appropriate only for items with Likert type response scales. Likewise, questions 3 8a through 3 8k were excluded from the analysis as the responses were essentially dichotomous. The fa ctor analysis was conducted on the fifteen items using Principal Components Analysis with Varimax rotation. Factors with Eigen values over 1 were extracted. In analyzing each factor, items whose factor loadings were .40 or higher in one factor were retaine d. Items that loaded on more than one factor at .40 or higher were eliminated. The first factor analysis yielded four factors explaining 69.2% of the variance. However, in reviewing the factor composition of the four factor solution, one factor was compri sed only of one item an item that ideally should have been retained in another factor. The factor analysis was rerun, forcing SPSS to extract only three factors. In forcing a three factor solution, the R 2 decreased to 62.5%. The three factor solution se emed more reasonable to Rankin than the four factor solution, and the following three factors (with the factor composition) are explained below. Question 2.5 was eliminated from inclusion in any of the factors because it loaded on two factors at .40 or hig her. Factor 1: Harassment of GLBT Persons Reliability (alpha) = .893 Q2.1. Gay men are harassed on campus due to their sexual orientation/gender identity. Q2.2. Lesbians are harassed on campus due to their sexual orientation/gender identity. Q2.3. B isexual persons are harassed on campus due to their sexual orientation/gender identity. Q2.4. Transgender persons are harassed on campus due to their sexual orientation/gender identity. Factor 2: Avoidance Behaviors Reliability (alpha) = .757
Climate perceptions/Identity 43 Q2.6. I conceal my sexual orientation/gender identity to avoid harassment. Q2.7. I conceal my sexual orientation/gender identity to avoid discrimination. Q2.8. I stay away from areas of campus where GLBT persons congregate for fear of being labeled. Factor 3: Institutional Response Reliability (alpha) = .841 Q3.1. The institution thoroughly addresses campus issues related to sexual orientation/gender identity. Q3.2. The institution has visible leadership from the administration regarding sexual orientation/ gender identity issues on campus. Q3.3. The curriculum adequately represents the contributions of LGBT persons. Q3.4. The climate of the classes I have taken or the job site where I work are accepting of LGBT persons. Q3.5. The institution provides visible resources on LGBT issues and concerns. Q3.6. The institution has a rapid response system for incidents of LGBT harassment. Q3.7. The institution has a rapid response system for incidents of LGBT discrimination. For factors 1 and 3 (Harassment of GLBT Pe rsons and Institutional Response), the reliability analysis suggests appropriate and strong factor scales (i.e., the reliability coefficients are .893 and .841, respectively). The reliability analysis examined the effects of deleting items from the scales, and for factors 1 and 3 the original scale compositions provided the strongest reliability for each scale. For factor 2, Avoidance Behaviors, deleting question 2.8 actually increased the reliability of that particular scale to .887, though it left only a two item factor. the item lowers the reliability to .757. A scale reliability of .757 is still acceptable; therefore it is suggested to retain the original three item sc ale (S.R. Rankin, personal communication, January 6, 2007).
Climate perceptions/Identity 44 This thirty nine question instrument provided data in a number of areas. It directly provided data in assessing overall campus climate (research question one); and whether the environment is expe rienced differently by gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender students (research question two). Additionally, data from this survey was compared with identity development results from the second instrument (research question three). This instrument was utilized through an agreement with the instrument creator, Dr. Susan Rankin, for a fee of $2500. Modifications include placing the instrument online, providing confidentiality information as required by IRB guidelines, and adding another possible response under the sexual identity question, which allowed for a instrument, with background information questions 4 2 through 4 11 asked at the beginning of the survey. Ques tion 4 by the researcher when duplicating the instrument online, with the transgender option being added under sexual identity in order to direct only the target respondents to the second instrument. The Gay Identity Questionnaire, developed by Brady & Busse (1994) was administered subsequently to students within the sample who self identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or questioning on the Rankin survey. This forty five question instrument has been vali dated for determining the identity levels of four out of the six
Climate perceptions/Identity 45 to assess ide ntity level, with each of the six stages being represented by seven questions, randomly ordered. The remaining three questions serve as validity checks, to ensure that respondents c an be labeled as homosexual. One of the three validity check questions nee ded to be answered affirmatively for the response to be considered valid. Stage totals level. If two levels were equally represented, a dual stage level is reporte d, and the response is taken out of the final analysis. The measure has been found to be a valid and reliable way to examine the coming out process theorized by Cass. The measurement designer reports that it has been used in a number of dissertations an d theses nationwide. Inter item consistency scores were reported by Brady for each of the six Cass stages. Stage one and two did not contain enough respondents to perform statistical analyses. The follow reliabilities were reported for the remaining fo ur stages: Stage 3 r =.76; Stage 4 r =.71; Stage 5, r =.44; and Stage 6 r = .78. Written approval to use this instrument has been obtained by its creator, Dr. Stephen Brady, via electronic mail. Reliability Measures for This S ample Sample reliabi lity measures for the Campus Climate survey and the Gay Identity Questionnaire in this study are outlined in tables 1 2. By including all students in the target population, a significant number of questioning students responded to the survey, allowing for reliability statistics to be generated for the GIQ that were not yet validated. Table 1 represents the reliabilities reported by Rankin for the national study, and
Climate perceptions/Identity 46 c ontrasts that with the results from this sample. It is clear that this sample provided similar results as reported by Rankin, with strong reliability indicators. Table 1 Reliability M easures for the Campus Climate Survey Sub Scales Reliability Value Sample Previously Stated Campus Experiences KR 20=.612 Q1.1 1.5 Feelings about Cam pus Climate Alpha = .816 Alpha = .893 .757 Q2.1 2.8 Campus Responses to GLBT Issues Alpha= .846 Alpha= .841 Q3.1 3.7 *specific questions located in instrument in appendix 1 Table 2 Reliability M easures of the Gay Identity Questionnaire (GI Q) Cass Stage Designation and Corresponding Questions KR 20 Sample Previously Stated One Q6, 17, 20, 25, 28, 31, 37 .762 N/A Two Q1, 12, 21, 23, 24, 29, 32 .728 N/A Three Q11, 15, 16, 18, 27, 33, 42 .721 .76 Four Q2, 3, 7, 14, 35, 3 6, 44 .796 .71 Five Q5, 8, 9, 26, 34, 38, 41 .463 .44 Six Q10, 13, 19, 30, 39, 43, 45 .847 .78 Specific questions located in appendix 2
Climate perceptions/Identity 47 Table 2 demonstrates previously reported reliabilities for the GIQ as well as the reliabilities reported f respondents who identified as stage 1 or two were reported, which enabled reliability tests to be conducted on the sample. The Kuder Richardson test, or KR 20 test was performed on this samp le with very reliable results being returned for all stages with the exception of stage 5, which showed similarly poor r values as the original study. These results are very significant as it demonstrates the reliability of the entire measure, which was p reviously unknown. Data Collection Procedures The Rankin and Brady & Busse instruments were administered sequentially online, and made available to all undergraduate students at the University of South Florida who are enrolled for a minimum of six credit h ours in the fall 2006 semester. Approval/support was obtained from the Dean of Undergraduate Studies, who facilitated the release of student email addresses to the researcher through the uni versity registrar. Only students who requested confidential recor ds, took only online courses, and those registered for less than six credit hours in the fall 2006 semester were excluded. The campus climate instrument served to isolate any non heterosexual respondents and direct them to the second survey, the GIQ. Re spondents who identified as heterosexual or transgender were not administered the GIQ. Students who chose to respond to the instrument were given information on the purpose of the study, and provided with instructions for instrument completion, including a n estimated time of completion, along with a statement that the data was collected confidentially.
Climate perceptions/Identity 48 The instruments were available for sixty days for students to complete. Email solicitations were sent in early December 2006, and again in early January 2007, with January 31 st being the deadline for responses to be included in the sample. The instruments were hosted online through a third party vendor, snapsurveys.com, with the researcher being responsible for placing the instruments online and retrievin g the data at the conclusion of the survey period. Data Analysis Procedures Data analysis revolved around the most appropriate statistical method pertaining to each research question. For the first question, I computed descriptive statistics on the cam pus climate data. The remaining questions were addressed through inferential statistical analysis which included one way and repeated measures ANOVA. For question one, descriptive statistics were calculated for each of the three subscales identified in t he Rankin instrument. This included frequencies, sample size, mean, standard deviation, degree of skewness and kurtosis of the distribution, as well as any outliers or extreme data. These results addressed the question of campus climate perceptions as ou tlined in research question one. For research question two, a five by two ANOVA was conducted on the heterosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and questioning populations and their perceptions of campus climate in two of the focus areas; climate perceptions an d administrative response. Due to the low response of transgender students (three), those responses were calculated with the questioning group. For these calculations, alpha was set to .05, with
Climate perceptions/Identity 49 effect size detected set at the medium level. Questions sho wing significant difference are reported and results discussed in the implications chapter. Finally, for research question three, a six by one ANOVA was calculated between the campus climate perceptions and the results of the six stages of identity develop ment as determined by the Brady & Busse identity level instrument. This will determine if any of the identity levels show a correlation to any of the three focus areas of campus climate; lived oppressed experiences, perceptions of anti GLBT oppression on campus, and administrative response. Representative questions within each area were selected for the analysis. To determine if a correlation exists, alpha was set to .05, with effect size detected set at the medium level. Threats to reliability validit y and generalizability The study was structured in a manner that will support student confidentiality while also maintaining efforts to overcome possible threats to reliability, validity and generalizability. In terms of reliability and validity, both in struments have been utilized in national and localized research studies, and have been found to be adequately reliable and valid. To avoid any threat, the instruments will be placed online in the same format and worded exactly as the paper instruments, wi th only the modifications alluded to earlier. Finally both instruments had expert evaluation within their respective fields, have been modified after feedback, and define critical terms. One threat to the validity of the data was the dependence on self disclosure of the connected with labeling oneself gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. To reduce this
Climate perceptions/Identity 50 possibility, sexual orientation was not asked on the climate s urvey until the end of the survey, with questioning and transgender options added. Only those who describe themselves as anything but heterosexual or transgender were allowed to proceed to the identity survey. One final threat to reliability was the possib ility of multiple entries from an anonymous student. While this threat is very unlikely, data was assessed prior to being analyzed to search for similar entries that are clearly duplicates. In terms of generalizability, it was important to have as rando m a sample as possible, while also encouraging participants specifically from the GLBT community at USF. The instrument was made available to all students, regardless of sexual orientation, who met minimum standard for credit hours in an effort to gather as broad a sample as possible. I was prepared to conduct purposeful follow up with student organizations and university support systems that cater to GLBT students in case a large enough sample size was not achieved through the random sample. However, a large enough sample was achieved through random methods, so intentional follow up with GLBT community members was not needed to ensure adequate power for inferential statistics. These efforts will ensure that the study is as generalizable to as many other populations/institutions as possible. The results of the campus climate research questions can be generalizable to other state supported metropolitan research one universities in the southeast, while the interrelatedness of identity development and campu s climate perceptions would be generalizable to other GLBT college students across the nation.
Climate perceptions/Identity 51 Chapter Four Results Introduction The purpose of this study was to assess the perceptions of campus climate for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender stude nts at the University of South Florida, Tampa Campus, and determine if those perceptions varied between the subgroups. Additionally, identity development level was assessed to determine if a relationship existed between perceptions of campus climate and l evel of GLBT identity development attained. The data included in the study were obtained by internet survey from December 2006 through January 2007 with two email prompts sent out to the target population. Demographic information of respondents Basic dem ographic information was collected on all respondents and is reported in T able 3. With the target group in this study being undergraduate students taking at least six credit hours of courses, question two (position at the university) served as a means of eliminating non undergraduate students from the sample. Participants included 2,322 undergraduates who were over the age of 18. Any responses from students under the age of 18, or responses from anyone who selected a position at the university other than undergraduate student were not considered. Four students did not complete more than 15 questions from the survey, and were eliminated. The actual number of useable responses was 2,318.
Climate perceptions/Identity 52 Table 3 Demographic Characteristics of Responden t Characteristic Total Sample n % Position: Undergraduate Student 2318 100 Age: 18 22 1515 65.5 22 32 588 25.4 33 42 134 5.8 43 52 59 2.6 53+ 17 .7 Race/Ethnicity: African American/Black 230 10.0 Asian/Pacific Islander 130 5.6 America n Indian/Alaskan Native 13 .6 Middle Eastern 20 .9 Chicano/Latino/Hispanic 222 9.6 White/Caucasian 1548 67.0 Mixed Ethnicities 148 6. 4 Sexual Identity: Bisexual 77 3.3 Gay 60 2.6 Lesbian 32 1.4 Heterosexual 2077 90.1 Transgender 3 .1 Questioning/uncertain 56 2.4 Status: Full time 1939 83. 8 Part time 376 16.2 Th e majority of respondents (65.5 %) were aged 18 22; the age group most consider traditional aged college students. The next largest age group was 22 32 years,
Climate perceptions/Identity 53 comprising 25.4 % of the survey respondents. Five students did not answer this question. White/Caucasian was the largest racial/ethnic group, with 67 % of the sample, followed by 10% African American/Black, 9.6 % Chicano/Latino/Hispanic, 6.4 % Mixed Ethnic ities, 5.6% Asian/Pacific Islander, .9% Middle Eastern, and .6 % American Indian/Alaskan Native. The vast majority of the respondents were full ti me undergraduate students (83.8%), with the remainder (16.2 %) identifying as part time. The breakdown of res pondents by self identified sexual orientation was overwhelmingly heterosexual, with non heterosexuals making up slightly more than nine percent of the sample. Noticeably absent from the demographic characteristics are gender breakdowns. Researcher error in transcribing the paper instrument to an online instrument led to the omission of that question from the instrument; therefore further analysis based on gender was not possible. However, gender was not one of the variables targeted by any of the researc h questions. Table 4 Living arrangements of respondents Where do you live? Total Sample n % On campus residence hall 269 11.6 On campus apartment 134 5.8 Fraternity or Sorority house 34 1.5 Family student housing 11 .5 Off campus 1864 80.6
Climate perceptions/Identity 54 Table 4 breaks down the living arrangement of students who responded to the survey. The large st group lived off campus (80.6%), followed by 11.6% on campus residence hall, 5.8% on campus apartment, 1.5 % fraternity or sorority house, and less than one percent in family student housing. Six respondents did not answer this question. Cumulatively, almost 20% of the respondents lived in some form of university housing. This differs from the overall undergraduate population at the Tampa campus of USF, in which 14.8% of undergraduates chose to live on campus for the fall 2006 semester ( University of South Florida, 2007 ) which is greater than the proportion of residential students in the overall undergraduate population. With a larger than proportionate resident stud ent response rate, further investigation into the same was needed to ensure the sample contained similar proportions of resident students in the GLBT and heterosexual populations. A larger resident student population in the GLBT group had the possibility to skew the results of the questions two and three. The data demonstrated that 21.6% of the GLBT group live d on campus, compared with 19.3 % for the heterosexual group. These proportions are similar and no not pose any threat to the validity of the result s of the research questions. Results for Research Question One What are the P erceptions Among GLBT Students of the Campus Climate for GLBT S tudents? To determine the climate perceptions of the GLBT population respondents who self identified as gay, les bian, bisexual, questioning, or transgender were grouped and named GLBTQ group The questioning respondents were added into this group due to their self identification as non heterosexual. Heterosexual perceptions of campus climate for GLBTQ students were not examined in this question. Each factor as outlined by
Climate perceptions/Identity 55 Rankin (2003) was examined and presented separately in tables in this section. Additionally, results from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) study conducted by Rankin (2003) are contr asted with results from this study. Table 5 Number and percents of GLBTQ group members who responded yes to questi ons regarding campus experience Question GLBT Q Group (n = 228) NGLTF study n % n % Feared for my physical safety because of my sexual orientation/gender identity 27 11.8 313 19 Concealed my sexual orientation/gender identity to avoid intimidation 95 41.7 844 51 Avoided disclosing my sexual orientation/gender identity to an instructor, TA, administrator, or supervisor 65 28.5 574 34 Wa s a victim of harassment due to my sexual orientation/sexual identity 29 12.7 254 36* Undergraduate students only Campus experiences of GLBTQ respondents are presented in Table 5. Results indicate that 11.8 % of GLBTQ respondents feared for their physi cal safety because of their sexual or ientation/gender identity; 41.7 % concealed their sexual orientation/gender ident ity to avoid intimidation, 28.5 % avoided disclosing their sexual orientation/gender identity to an instructor, TA, adminis trator, or superv isor, and 12.7 % reported being a victim of harassment due to their sexual orientation/gender identity. The numbers are
Climate perceptions/Identity 56 particularly concerning when placed in the context of an educational setting, where 42% of the population hides their orientation to avo id intimidation, and 13% experienced actual harassment on campus. Table 6. Percents of GLBTQ group who responded very unlikely through very likely to questions on feelings about campus climate. Question GLBT Q Group Responses (in percents ) Very unli kely U nlikely Uncertain Likely Very Likely ( n ) Gay men are harassed on campus due to their sexual orientation /gender identity 4.8 20.6 32.4 32.9 9.2 228 Lesbians are harassed on campus due to their sexual orientation/gender identity 7.0 29.0 34.7 22.4 7. 0 228 Bisexuals are harassed on campus due to their sexual orientation/gender identity 13.6 29.0 35.1 16.2 6.1 228 Transgender are harassed on campus due to their sexual orientation/gender identity 4.0 7.0 34.7 28.1 26.3 228 I fear for my physical safet y because of my sexual orientation/gender identity 38.2 41.7 11.0 7.9 1.3 228 I conceal my sexual orientation/gender identity to avoid harassment 26.8 27.2 9.2 24.6 12.3 228 I stay away from areas of campus where glbt persons congregate for fear of being labeled 57.5 20.2 11.4 7.9 3.1 228
Climate perceptions/Identity 57 Despite the concern regarding these results, the negative experiences of GLBTQ students at USF are less frequent than the totals from the NGLTF study conducted by Rankin (2003). C learly there is work to be done; howev er the results indicate USF students experience less discrimination than their national counterparts (p.25 27). at the university. When asked if they felt students were haras sed due to their sexual or ientation/gender identity, 42.1 % of respondents felt that it was likely or very likely that gay men are harassed on campus, while 29.4 % felt l esbians were harassed, and 22.4 % felt that bisexuals were harassed. Fifty four percent of GLBTQ respondents felt that transgender students were harassed for their gender identity. It is clear from these results that students perceive that transgender students and gay men are more likely to be harassed than lesbians or bisexuals. I n terms o f physical safety, 9.3 % were likely to fear for their physical safety due to their sexual orientation/gender identity. Thirty seven percent were likely or very likely to conceal their sexual orientation/gender identity to avoid harassment, and 11 % were e ither likely or very likely to avoid areas of campus where GLBTQ persons congregate for fear of b eing labeled. Conversely, 79.8 % of GLBTQ students were unlikely or very unlikely to fear for their physical safety, 54 % were unlikely or very unlikely to conc eal their sexual orientatio n to avoid harassment, and 77.6 % were unlikely or very unlikely to stay away from areas of campus where GLBTQ persons congregated. The results demonstrate that GLBTQ students at USF are less likely than not to conceal their orie ntation in an attempt to avoid harassment, and are not afraid to be
Climate perceptions/Identity 58 present in areas where GLBTQ members congregate. The campus climate percepti ons from respondents indicate lower scores on perceptions of environment than the national study that utilized this same instrument, where 51% of the sample reported that they were likely to conceal their orientation to avoid harassment, and where 19% feared for their physical safety (Rankin, 2003 p.25). Table 7. Percents of GLBTQ group who responded strongly ag ree through strongly disagree to questions regarding feelings about campus responses Question GLBT Q Group (in percents ) Strongly Agree Agree Uncertain Disagree Strongly Disagree ( n ) The College/University thoroughly addresses issues related to sexual orientation/gender identity 4.4 13.6 44.7 27.6 9.7 228 The College/University has visible leadership from the administration regarding sexual orientation/gender identity issues 4.4 18.4 38.6 23.7 14.9 228 The curriculum adequately represents the contribu tions of LGBT persons 4.8 13.2 43.4 21.5 17.1 228 The climate of the classes I have taken or the job site where I work are accepting of LGBT persons 13.7 47.1 23.8 11.5 4.0 227 The University provides visible resources on LGBT issues and concerns 6.1 21. 5 38.6 21.9 11.8 228 The University has a rapid response system for incidents of LGBT harassment 3.5 7.5 76.3 9.2 3.5 228
Climate perceptions/Identity 59 Table 7 displays the responses of GLBTQ students and their perceptions of campus responses to GLBT issues. Eighteen percent of re spondents agreed or strongly agreed that the university addresses issues related to sexual orientati on/gender identity, whereas 37.3 % disagreed or strongly disagreed. The largest number of respondents, 44.7%, were uncertain. In terms of visible leadership from the administration regarding sexual orientation/gender identity issues, 22.8% agreed or strongly agreed that it was visible, with 38.6 % disagreeing or strongly disagreeing. The lar gest single group of respondents (38.6 %) were unsure if the administr ation showed visible leadership on this issue, similar to results of other questions in this table. This clearly demonstrates that the GLBT community represented by this sample has seen less than satisfactory leadership from the university administration on issues of sexual orientation identity. Less than 25% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that the university demonstrated leadership in addressing these issues. Whether this is due to an actual lack of leadership or a breakdown in communicating t hat commitment to the USF community on GLBT issues could not be determined based on the data collected. Perceptions of the climate in the classroom environ ment on campus provided insight into areas directly impacted by faculty Sixty one percent of respon dents agreed or strongly agreed that the climate was supportive of GLBT issues, with only 15.4 % disagreeing or strongly disagreeing. However, more students disagre ed and strongly disagreed (33.8 %) that the university provides visible resources on GLBT iss ues and concerns than those who agreed or strongly agreed (27.6%). Finally, only 11.0 % of
Climate perceptions/Identity 60 students agreed or strongly agreed that the University has a rapid response system for incidents of GLBT harassment, while 12.7 % disagreed or strongly disagreed. Th e most common respons e was that of uncertainty (76.3 %) about the university response system to address report s of harassment. With nearly 10 % of this sample self identifying as non heterosexual, this group makes up a clear presence within the student body ; yet the results indicate that they remain a forgotten minority. This indicates that more education regarding available, established resources for victims of GLBT harassment needs to occur. Compared with the national study, USF students are less likely t o report positive feelings about campus responses to GLBTQ issues. Nationally, 37% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that their institution thoroughly addressed issues related to sexual orientation/gender identity, compared with 18% of USF students The most striking disparity among the national and USF results in campus responses was to the The University provides visible resources on LGBT issues and concerns Nationally, 71% agreed or strongly agreed with this statement, while only 23 % of respondents to this study felt that way. The results clearly indicate that students at USF perceive their administration support in GLBTQ issues much less favorably than the respondents in the national study. Overall, the results for campus climate p erceptions for GLBTQ students showed mixed perceptions among the three areas of inquiry. While experiences with discrimination are lower than the national study, they still indicate that a population of students do not feel safe and have experienced haras sment. Feelings about campus
Climate perceptions/Identity 61 climate at USF show less perceptions of harassment than that of the national study, but there are still substantial numbers of USF students who feel that the campus climate is unwelcoming to the point that they hide their sexu al orientation to avoid intimidation. Finally, the perceptions of campus responses to GLBTQ issues are much lower than those of the national study. This disparity is partially explained by the fact that schools in the national study all had GLBT resource ce nters on campus. Additionally, USF is a larger, urban, research one institution that is being compared to a diverse group of institutions in the national study, which may explain some of that difference. However, it remains clear that administrators at other institutions are more effective than those at USF at demonstrating support for GLBT concerns. Results from Research Question Two Is Campus Climate for GLBT S tudents at USF Perceived D ifferently by Heterosexual, Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or Transgend er S tudents? In addressing question two, responses were broken down into three main areas of inquiry as outlined in the climate instrument; campus experiences, feelings about campus climate, and campus responses to GLBT issues. Questions within each area of inquiry where then tallied, with mean scores for each area computed. Ranges for each area were unique. Questions 9 13 from the survey represented campus experiences. Responses to 1 for yes, with a range of 0 5. Thus, a relatively high score in this range indicates that people had experienced more of the events asked about in the five questions. Questions 17 24 (disregarding question 21) represented feelings about campus climat e, and were tallied by assigning values of 1
Climate perceptions/Identity 62 40. A lower mean score would trend towards the unlikely range of the scale, with the higher mean scores trending towards response would indicate more perceived discrimination. Questions 25 31 represented feelings about campus responses, and were tallied by assigning values of 1 5 to the 35. A lower mean score would trend towards the agree range of the scale; with the higher mean scores trending towards disagree responses. Thus high scores would indica te more negative feelings about campus responses regarding GLBT issues. Only three students identified as transgender; therefore that group was not examined due to insufficient numbers of responses. Table 8 details the distribution of responses to the ca mpus climate survey by the three areas of inquiry identified by the Rankin instrument. The figure for campus experiences only includes the non heterosexual respondents as the questions specifically related to personal experiences of discrimination based on sexual orientation, and including the responses of heterosexuals led to a largely skewed sample for that factor. The overall sample showed relatively normal skewness and kurtosis in the distribution of campus experiences, campus climate and administrativ e responses variables. The data were screened for violations of assumptions to conduct an ANOVA; no violations were noted.
Climate perceptions/Identity 63 Table 8 Distribution of Responses by F actors Factors Total Sample n Range Mean SD Skewness Kurtosis Campus Experiences* 225 0 5 0.96 1.18 1.02 0.03 Feelings About Campus Climate 2294 8 40 15.16 4.59 .50 .75 Campus Responses 2287 7 35 19.74 3.94 0.33 2.44 *Includes only non heterosexual respondents In determining if perceptions of campus climate vary significantly betwee n the heterosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and questioning groups, two statistical measures were used due to the format of the questionnaire. For campus experiences, the data is dichotomous and the largest population (heterosexual) was very unlikely to e xperience discrimination due to their sexual orientation. Therefore, it was not examined for differences between the groups. Table 9 displays the data regarding feelings about campus climate by sexual orientation identified. The distribution of the samp le showed normal skewness among all the populations, and only a moderate leptokurtic kurtosis among the heterosexual population. A mean score that was lower in this variable would indicate a perception of a more positive campus climate, while a higher sco re indicates a perception of a discriminatory environment. Heterosexual respondents viewed the environment for GLBT students much more favorably than any of the other groups. The results of the ANOVA comparing campus climate feelings scores by sexual or ientation identified are outlined in Table 10. Since two ANOVAS were being
Climate perceptions/Identity 64 conducted to answer this question, a bonferroni adjustment was used to counter the larger chance for error. Therefore, significance was determined at the .025 level rather than .0 5. Significant differences were noted among the populations identified [F(4,2279) = 84.59, p <.0001]. A tukey test was then conducted to look for significant differences between the individual groups at the 95% confidence level. Significant differences wer e noted between heterosexual students and all of the non heterosexua l groups, and are displayed in T able 11. The only significant difference noted between groups that did not include heterosexual students was between gay and questioning students. Table 9 Data of feelings about campus climate by sexual orientation identified Orientation Feelings about climate N M SD Sk Ku Bisexual 77 21.402 6.044 0.461 0.349 Gay 60 23.200 5.306 0.295 0.347 Lesbian 32 22.437 8.011 0.137 0.846 Heterosexual 205 5 15.871 4.398 0.499 1.219 Questioning 56 20.08 6.362 0.142 0.345 These results indicate that heterosexual students perceive the en vironment for GLBTQ students much differently than the GLB T Q students themselves perceive. This demonstrates the failur e of heterosexual students to observe the types of harassment and discrimination experienced by non heterosexuals, including stereotypical portrayals of GLBTQ persons. Questioning students, who do not identify as heterosexual or GLBT, also demonstrated si gnificantly different perceptions of campus climate than gay men, indicating a lack of awareness of what the experience for gay men is like.
Climate perceptions/Identity 65 Table 10 Analysis of Variance for Campus Climate Feelings by Sexual Orientation Identified Source SS df ms F p Sexual Orientation 7198.945 4 1799.736 84.59 <.0001 Error 48400.632 2275 1309.4 Total 55599.578 2279 The results from this analysis also need to be further dissected to completely understand the results. One possibility for the lower mean score from heterosexual in this sample. While this may explain some of the statistical figures, it still underscores the need for education regarding a student population t hat significant portions of the Table 11 ANOVA of F eelings about campus climate by Sexual Orientation with larger mean score in group one Group One Group Two Mean Difference Gay Questioning 3.110 Gay Heterosexual 7.328 Gay Lesbian 0.762 Gay Bisexual 1.794 Lesbian Heterosexual 6.566* Lesbian Questioning 2.348 Lesbian Bisexual 1.034 Bisexual Heterosexual 5.531* Bisexual Questioning 1.313 Questioning Heterosexual 4.217* p <.05
Climate perceptions/Identity 66 Campus responses to discrimi nation of GLBT students yielded similar results as the campus climate perceptions, and are displayed in T able 12. Heterosexual respondents had the lowest mean score of 19.54, while gay men had the highest with 23.06. In this analysis, a lower score would mean higher satisfaction with campus responses to discrimination, and a higher score would indicate more dissatisfaction with the campus response. Distributions of responses to this factor were normal with the exception of the heterosexual group, which were significantly leptokurtic. This can be explained due to middle of the likert scale. Skewness results also showed normal distribution figures. The data were sc reened for violations of assumptions to conduct an ANOVA; no violations were noted. Table 12 Data of Campus Responses to Discrimination by Sexual Orientation Orientation Campus Responses N M SD Sk Ku Bisexual 77 20.844 4.872 0.290 0.978 Gay 60 23. 066 4.870 0.323 0.265 Lesbian 32 20.875 5.505 0.466 0.131 Heterosexual 2048 19.544 3.772 0.474 2.754 Questioning 55 21.145 4.178 0.262 1.787 An ANOVA was performed on mean scores for campus responses to discrimination and sexual orientation iden tified. Relevant data from the ANOVA is outlined in T able 13. This analysis showed a significant difference among the mean
Climate perceptions/Identity 67 scores of the different orientations identified. To determine which groups had significantly different means between the groups, a tukey test was conducted with alpha set to .05. Since two ANOVAS were conducted to answer this question, a bonferroni adjustment was used to counter the larger chance for error. Therefore, significance was determined at the .025 level rather than .05. T able 13 Analysis of Variance for Campus Responses to Discrimination by Sexual Orientation Source SS df ms F p Sexual Orientation 986.068 4 246.517 16.33 <.0001 Error 34220.156 2267 15.094 Total 35206.224 2271 Table 14 ANOVA of campus responses to discrimination by Sexual Orientation with larger mean in group one Group One Group Two Mean Difference Gay Bisexual 2.222* Gay Heterosexual 3.522* Gay Lesbian 2.191 Gay Questioning 1.921 Questioning Lesbian .0270 Questioning Bisexual 0.301 Quest ioning Heterosexual 1.601* Lesbian Bisexual 0.031 Lesbian Heterosexual 1.330 Bisexual Heterosexual 1.299* p < .05 Table 14 outlines the differences between groups and the mean difference noted. Significant differences are indicated Similar to the c ampus climate feelings analysis, the only significant difference among non heter osexual groups included gay men, but in this
Climate perceptions/Identity 68 analysis it was the bisexual, not questioning population, that showed significant mean difference. Also, the previous difference b etween the Lesbian and Heterosexual groups was not repeated. It is clear from these results that heterosexual students perceive the campus climate differently than non heterosexual students. The data analysis indicated significant differences between het erosexuals and all other groups in feelings about campus climate. This incongruence of perceptions also was demonstrated in analysis of perceptions of campus responses to GLBT issues. The differences between heterosexual and all other groups except the lesbian population showed significance. This demonstrates a clear disconnect between heterosexuals and non heterosexuals in terms of perception of campus environment for GLBTQ students. Additionally, within the non heterosexual populations, gay men repor t less satisfaction with administrative responses than other non heterosexual groups. Results from Research Question Three Does the Identity Level of GLB Students Relate to the Perceptions of Campus C limate? Of the 2,385 valid responses, 230 students se lf identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or questioning and were administered the online GIQ. It was completed by 225 of them. Two hundred nine of those respondents answered all 45 GIQ questions completely whereas sixteen respondents left at least one qu estion blank. A mean imputation was performed for these sixteen respondents, with the mean score of the responses for that stage inserted into the missing question. Respondents who scored the same in more than one stage were eliminated from the sample, i n keeping with established research
Climate perceptions/Identity 69 protocols that utilized the GIQ (Brady, 1994). Additionally, respondents who failed to answer any of the three validity questions from the GIQ were eliminated from the sample. Twenty five responses did not pass the vali dity checks built into the measure. Two were missing more one question for stage and were removed from the sample, leaving 198 valid responses that were placed into stages. The data were screened for violations of assumptions to conduct an ANOVA; no vio lations were noted. Table 15 Identity level by self identified sexual orientation Identity Level Gay Lesbian Bisexual Questioning Total n % n % n % n % n % 1 0 0 .0 0 0 .0 15 46. 9 17 53.1 32 16 .0 2 0 0.0 0 0.0 13 46.4 15 53.6 28 14.0 3 1 5.9 4 23.5 9 52.9 3 17.7 17 8.5 4 15 34.1 11 25.0 15 34.1 3 6.8 44 22.0 5 5 50.0 2 20.0 3 30.0 0 0.0 10 5.0 6 39 58.2 11 16.4 16 23.9 1 1.5 67 33.5 88* 2 1.0 2 1.0 Totals 60 30.0 28 14.0 71 35.5 41 20.5 200 100 *Left more than one stage question per stage blank, not assigned a stage Table 15 shows descriptive statistics for the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and questioning groups that were administered the GIQ. Numbers of respondents are displayed by sexual orientation and identity level. The results demonstrat e clearly that students who score in stages one and two identify themselves as bisexual or questioning, and do not see themselves as gay or lesbian. This reflects the level of identity acceptance
Climate perceptions/Identity 70 outlined by Cass (1979) and quantified by the instrument. Additionally, a clear trend towards fewer questioning students scoring in the higher identity stages is noted. Two respondents who identified as questioning did not pass the validity tests of the GIQ and were not counted in the final total. As with resear research question, one addressing feelings about campus climate and the other addressing campus responses, to examine if any relationship existed with those perceptions and ident on this sample, a Bonferroni adjustment was performed. Therefore, to determine significance with 95% confidence, p values would need to be <.025. The descriptive statistics for feelings about campus climate by identity stage are displayed in Table 16. For the feelings about campus climate factor, a higher mean score indicates more negative perceptions of campus climate for GLBT students. The mean scores increase from stage one through four, t hen drop back at stage six. The data were screened for violations of assumptions to conduct an ANOVA; no violations were noted. Table 16 Mean scores for feelings about campus climate by identity stage Identity Stage n Mean* SD 1 52 18.86 5.33 2 26 21.26 6.42 3 18 23.00 7.01 4 42 25.88 5.84 5 9 25.11 6.93 6 63 20.98 5.89 r ange 8 40
Climate perceptions/Identity 71 The first ANOVA compared feelings about campus climate with Identity lev el assigned according to the Cass model. The results from the ANOVA are outlined in Table 17. Th e results [F (5,183) =6.90, p <.0001] indicated a significant difference among the six different Cass stages in relation to campus climate feelings. To determine where the significance was found between the six stages, the researcher referred back to the original study that created the GIQ. Brady (1994) suggested that instead of a six stage model for identity formation, his data indicated a two stage model, collapsing stages one, two, and three into one stage, and four five, and six being another. A co ntrast ANOVA was conducted by grouping the stages in this manner. The results of the contrast are located in Table 17. Other combinations of collapsing stages to determine significant differences were not explored. Results from the contrast reveal a sign ificant difference in campus climate feelings between stages one, two, and three versus stages four, five and six. This result is congruent with the interpretation of the results expressed by Brady in 1994. To determine the level of the effect size, a man ual calculation was performed to determine the magnitude of the significance noted in the contrast. The calculation, L 1 = .33(mean for stage 1) + .33(mean for stage2) +.33(mean for stage 3) .33(mean for stage 4) .33(mean for stage 5) .33(mean for stage 6) determines the raw effect size, which is then divided by the root mean square error (MSE) for actual effect size ( f) For this ANOVA, the f value = 0.48, describing a large effect size according to Cohen (1992). This further emphasizes the relationshi p between homosexual identity development and
Climate perceptions/Identity 72 feelings about campus climate, and demonstrates the need to take this factor into consideration when interpreting perceptions of campus climate feelings. Table 17 Analysis of Variance for Campus Climate Feelin gs by Identity Stage Source SS df ms F p Identity Level 1162.876 5 232.575 6.90 <.0001 Error 6164.657 183 33.686 Total 7327.534 188 Table 18 Analysis of Variance for Campus Climate Feelings by Identity Stages Contrasted Source Contrast SS df ms F p Stage 1,2,3 vs 4, 5,6 226.243 1 226.243 6.72 0.01 Mean scores for participants responses to GLBT administrative issues sorted by identity level scored are outlined in Table 19. For the administrative responses factor, a higher mean score indicate s more negative perceptions of responses for GLBT issues. Similarly to the feeling about campus climate factor, the mean scores increase from stage one through four, then drop back at stage six. The data were screened for violations of assumptions to con duct an ANOVA; no violations were noted. A second ANOVA was performed on campus responses to discrimination and harassment and identity stage. As conducted on the data. Ther efore, to determine significance with 95% confidence, p values would need to be <.025. A result of [F (5,185) =2.50 p =.032] was obtained, indicating that the difference s between identity stages and administrative responses was not significant when conside ring the Bonferroni adjustment among the stages for campus
Climate perceptions/Identity 73 responses. The results of the ANOVA are presented in Table 20. With this result being close to significant, a contrast ANOVA was performed in the same fashion as with the campus climate feelings variable, contrasting the results for levels 1, 2 and 3 with the result from levels 4, 5 and 6. Other combinations of collapsing stages to determine significant differences were not explored. Table 19 Mean scores for administrative responses to GLBT iss ues by identity level Identity Stage n Mean SD 1 37 20.35 4.27 2 2 8 20.96 3.26 3 16 21.31 3.4 1 4 44 2 2.45 5.07 5 10 24.70 4.37 6 6 7 21.5 6 5.67 range of 7 35 Table 21 shows the results of the contrast ANOVA between stages one, two and three and fo ur, five, and six. Significant differences are noted between these groups with a p value of .0042. A manual calculation, as detailed previously, was performed to determine the magnitude of the effect, which produced an f value of 0.50. Cohen (1992) sets a large effect size for this statistic at .40, indicating a large effect size for this ANOVA. This is significant for demonstrating the relationship between homosexual identity formation and perceptions of campus responses to discrimination. Additionall y, when considered with the significant result for feelings of campus climate, further strengthens the overall result that GLB identity development impacts perceptions of campus climate in general.
Climate perceptions/Identity 74 Table 20 Analysis of Variance for Campus Responses by I dentity Stages Source SS df ms F p Identity Level 280.212 5 56.042 2.50 0.032 Error 4691.355 185 22.436 Total 5038.504 190 Table 21 Analysis of Variance for Campus Responses by Identity Stages Contrasted Source Contrast S S df ms F p Stage 1, 2,3, vs. 4,5,6 188.631 1 188.631 8.41 0.0042 Validation of Gay Id entity Questionnaire (GIQ) for Identity L evels One and T wo In chapter three it was noted that the GIQ had not been validated in its initial study due to lack of a significant number of resp onses from participants who scored in stages one and two. This was due to the methodology employed to obtain t he original GIQ research sample, where gay men were asked to complete the instrument. In order to obtain significant numbers of respondents for all stages, this study targeted all undergraduate students, including males and females S tudents who self identified as any sexual orientation other than transgender or heterosexual were administered the GIQ. Table 22 Identity stage reliability scores and number of respondents Identity Stage n r 1 32 .762 2 28 .728 3 17 .721 4 44 .796 5 10 .463 6 67 .847
Climate perceptions/Identity 75 provided an additional label that more accurately described res pondents who are in the early stages of homosexual identity development. With the inclusion of the questioning students, the sample provided significant number of responses needed to validate the GIQ in all stages, particularly stages one and two. Additio nally, the online format in which the instrument was administered allowed for anonymous self identifying of the respondents sexual orientation, which increased the likelihood of questioning students to check an identity other than heterosexual. To determi ne reliability measures for the GIQ, the Kuder Richardson or KR 20 test was used. As shown in Table 2 2, stage one of the GIQ obtained an r = 762, while stage two obtained and r =.728. These results indicate that the GIQ a very reliable measur e of stages one and two of the C ass model, and are in line with previously obtained r values for stages thre e six identified in Table 2. The data also reflect a lower r value for stage 5, which is similar to the r value that was reported by Brady (1994). This is a si gnificant finding that will assist future researchers in quantitative stu dies involving sexual identity. Additionally, previous researchers wh o used the GIQ can review their results with greater confidence than initially thought.
Climate perceptions/Identity 76 Chapter Five Implica tions Introduction/Summary This purpose of this study was to address three research questions: What are the perceptions among GLBT students of the campus climate for GLBT students? Is campus climate for GLBT students at USF perceived differently by hetero sexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender students? Does the identity level of GLB students relate to the perceptions of campus climate? To answer these questions, the researcher used pre established instruments : the Rankin Assessment of Campus Climat e and the Gay Identity Questionnaire. The population studied was undergraduate students taking six credits or more at the University of South Florida, Tampa Campus in the fall of 2006. The instruments were administered online with slight modifications as outlined in the previous chapters. A total of 2,318 useable responses were received from the campus climate assessment, with 228 of those respondents also completing the identity questionnaire. Findings included the validation of the GIQ for the first two not confirmed, and significant differences in perceptions of campus climate among the subgroups studied. Finally, significant differences in perceptions of campus climate were
Climate perceptions/Identity 77 noted among respo ndents who scored higher and lower on the GIQ. From these results, the study was able to answer all three questions conclusively. Conclusions The data analysis of this study supports several key conclusions to the research questions. These conclusions a re outlined below in italics with supporting information provided below. Perceptions of Campus Climate at USF are more positive than those reported in the results of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Study conducted by Rankin (2003) USF students report fewer oppressive experiences, a lower percentage of negative perceptions of the campus climate, and less satisfaction with administrative responses to GLBT issues. This is positive affirmation that the campus is perceived as less oppressive than ot hers when compared to the national study However, the majority of GLBTQ respondents felt that transgendered students were likely to be harassed, and over 40% felt that gay men were likely to be harassed. Within the positive results there is still work t o be done. Administrative responses to GLBT Issues are not visible to students Regarding administrative responses, there is a clear indication from the results that the administration needs to address GLBT issues in a visible fashion that is clearly commu nicated to the students. Three when asked if the university has a rapid response system for incidents of GL BT harassment. Additionally, only one third of GLBTQ students felt that the university
Climate perceptions/Identity 78 provided visib le resources on GL BT issues and concerns. Finally, the most common communicates indifference by the administration, or indicates that administrat or s efforts to communi cate support for GLBT students is not effective. Significant differences exist between the perceptions of campus climate for GLBTQ students between the heterosexual and gay, lesbian, bisexual, and questioning students The data clearly shows that hete rosexual students do not have the same perceptions of campus climate for GLBT students as the GLBT students have themselves. This is especially clear between heterosexual students and gay men. Further research should be conducted to determine the reas ons for this dissonance. Number of experiences and contact with GLBTQ students would be a starting point. The level of homosexual identity development attained has a significant relationship with perceptions of campus climate The results of this study valida homosexual identity development can be quantifiably expressed in a two stage model. Significant differences with large effect sizes in feelings about campus climate and administrative responses were observed in this study when identity stages 1,2,3 and 4,5,6 were contrasted. The results are important to future research as this validates a relationship between identity level and perceptions of campus climate, which should be addressed when designing future st udies. Implications for Theory The implications of this study in terms of theory are significant. First, the design and sample of the study were such that the validation of a previously invalidated
Climate perceptions/Identity 79 instrument was achieved. The Gay Identity Questionnaire in its original form, was validated for all six theoretical stages of the Cass Homosexual identity formation theory. Additionally, the significant relationships between identity stage and perceptions of campus climate were quantified by using the same c into two stages as reported by Brady (1994). Brady suggested that homosexual identity formation may be a two stage process stages one through three, and is characterized by respondents that are unclear or through six, where respondents know about, approve of, and embody their homosexual i dentity. By demonstrating significant differences in perceptions by identity level, these findings provide additional support for a simplified application of the Cass Model into a two stage model of homosexual identity development that allows less subtle but significant distinctions within the population sampled. This simpler application of the Cass model provides new opportunities for theoretical development of sexual identity and understanding of a very complex human phenomenon. Noting the current age of the GIQ (thirteen years), and the progression of language regarding how non heterosexual students identify themselves, an updating of this instrument would provide new opportunities for quantifiable data regarding identity development that more recent mod els have attempted to achieve qualitatively. Terms with which many students identify, but are not currently used on the existing version of the GIQ.
Climate perceptions/Identity 80 Second, this study was centered on a theoretical fra mework which purports that the probability of facilitating homosexual identity development is a function of the level within the environment. The results of this study have shown that there is a significant relationship between identity development and perceptions of campus climate, and students who have a further developed sense of non heterosexual identity view the campus climate more negatively up to stage six When placed in the theoretical framework equation, the results indicate that reducing the negative perceptions of campus climate may assist in the probability of identity development increasing. This provides a unique challenge to administrators that are looki ng to create an environment that facilitates identity development, and will be discussed further in implications for practice. Finally, the results demonstrate that the Cass model remains an important tool in understanding the process of identity developm ent for sexual minorities. Modern others have created comprehensive frameworks for understanding the lifelong process of identity development and the many factors which impact said development. The Cass model, and specifi cally the simplified application used to determine significance in this study, provides a simpler but effective mode for assessing identity development and its relationship to variables being researched. Implications for Practice T his study provided da ta regarding perceptions of campus climate for GLBT students at the USF Tampa campus but the implications for practice can also be of use to administrators across the country While the specific recommendations outlined below
Climate perceptions/Identity 81 are unique to the USF Tampa and the results of the study, more general themes are applicable to institutions who are dealing with parallel issues. Analysis of these data identifies clear issues that need to be addressed to improve the learning environment of non heterosexuals at the institution. While the results are generally more positive than a recent national study, there is a clear need to improve both the content and the communication of university initiatives in this area C onclusion s o f this study document that students perce ive the administration at USF is not providing visible leadership on GLBT issues and is not communicating effectively its system of addressing incident s of GLBT harassment. A recommendation to address both of these issues is the establishment of a GLBT res ource center. Currently, a graduate student in the Office of Multicultural Affairs is the only dedicated resource to serving the GLBT community specifically. Given the unique issues surrounding the acceptance of GLBT students, such as religious and politic al factors, the addition of a Additionally, this center could also promote existing initiatives and resources such as the safe zone program and procedures for filing comp laints to the Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity have not been clearly disseminated to all students. Additional recommendations include additions to the curriculum that expose students to GLBT issues and accomplishments in history and today. The r esults indicate that only 18% of respondents felt that the curriculum adequately covered the contributions of GLBT individuals. Additional exposure to the GLBT community in an academic setting may ll as
Climate perceptions/Identity 82 accomplishments in varied disciplines. USF has brought a number of individuals to speak on GLBT issues through its lecture series recently, including Judy Shepard, mother of Matthew Shepard, the student who was slain at the University of Wyoming. A uthor Augusten Burroughs was also part of the series Continued support for lectures on GLBT issues will compliment additions to the academic curriculum. Campus climate perceptions for GLBT students were significantly different between several subgroups of students, particularly heterosexuals. Their perception of campus climate for non heterosexual students was markedly d ifferent from GLBT students. Educational initiatives through both the academic and co curricular structures to educate heterosexuals o n the experiences of GLBT students in particular and all underrepresented groups in general, will serve to enlighten majority groups of the type of experiences minority students face at USF. An effective way of initiating climate change among the larger student population is to identify key student subgroups that are influential on the student body at large, such as athletes, greek students, and student government leaders. Prior research by Nowack (2004) indicated that respondents are less likely to ho ld negative stereotypes about sexual minorities the more they are exposed to individuals from those groups personally. A targeted ally building program among influential student groups for GLBT students would impact the overall climate in a positive way. The res ults also indicate that student s perceive gay men and transgender students to experience harassment at higher levels than other sexual minority groups, such as lesbians and bisexuals. One possibility for this difference in perception can be attrib uted
Climate perceptions/Identity 83 to campus attitudes regarding gender identity, where students who fail to live up to traditional male roles within society are harassed at a greater rate than females. The University can communicate an institutional value on gender identity by expand ing the non discrimination statement to specifically include these members of the University community which is currently limited to sexual orientation in general Additionally, educational initiatives that target gender role issues can be administered i n a broader female gender role discussions. Significant differences between perceptions of campus climate and homosexual identity development demonstrate that as homosexual identity attain ment increase s so does the perception of harassmen t and discrimination on campus, up to stage five. This may be due to negative experiences that they have personally witnessed while incorporating their identity, or the realization that social and academi c structures are not meeting the unique needs of the GLBT population. While the genera l trend from stage one through five is towards a more negative view of climate, students who identified as Cass stage six showed similar mean scores to students who iden tified at level three. One explanation of the lower score is that students with a fully integrated sense of homosexual identity have become more accustomed to their role as a sexual minority and have discovered the resources to effectively cope with their minority status. These resources, both socially and administrative in nature, assist students, while students with a less developed sense of identity fail to see those resources and continue to perceive the climate with skepticism. Unless th ese
Climate perceptions/Identity 84 perceptions are reversed, students questioning their sexual orientation will continue to face a campus environment that is not as conducive to growth in identity development, and increases the likelihoo d of negative behaviors that con tribute to student This study has provided specific information to assist administrators at USF with improving the campus climate perceptions for GLB T students at the Tampa campus. However, campuses across the country experience similar issues. This study has identified new facets of campus climate perceptions that can improve the effectiveness of campus environment initiatives being undertaken. These implications are presented in a generalized form for application a t a variety of institutions. Perhaps the most important implication from this study is the validation of the relationship between identity development and campus climate perceptions. As institutions seek to conduct their own campus climate studies, it is recommended that identity level of the respondents be factored into the methodology employed. Just as an imbalance of other variables, such as residency and class status can impact the distribution of results, this study has shown that identity level of r espondents is a key factor to include in study design. A disproportionate number of students at either end of the identity development spectrum can skew the results. Another implication is to address campus climate from an institution wide frame, includ ing academic and student affairs constituents. The results demonstrated that GBLT issues are not effectively incorporated into the curriculum, and that social structures
Climate perceptions/Identity 85 within student life need improvement to reduce the perceptions of harassment. No one initiative can correct the problem unless it involves the entire institution. Implications for Further Research The results of this study have provided answers to the three questions it was designed to answer. They also have created new opportunities fo r inquiry to further study the GLBTQ population. Further research opportunities center on the outcomes of this study: The validation of the Gay Identity Questionnaire, the duplication of a two phase simplification of the Cass model as initially reported by Brady (1994), the relation ship between identity development and perceptions of campus climate, and suggestions for modifications to the GIQ for future studies. Additionally, further study that takes into account additional variables such as race and ge nder may provide additional insight into this complex framework. The design of this study resulted in a large enough sample size to validate the six. Previously, th e GIQ had only been validated in stages three through six This has significant impacts on its ability to be used for future studies. Additionally, it allows researchers who used the GIQ previously to reexamine their research with greater confidence in t he results. With the newer homosexual identity development models determine identity development, the GIQ proves that effective, statistically verifiable results can be obtai ned and analyzed immediately for research studies in which the Cass theory is a viable framework.
Climate perceptions/Identity 86 (1994) findings that suggest a simplified interpretation of the Cass model with two stage s of identity development i s effective in among six stages In analyzing the data from this study, significant differences were found between mean scores of campus climate perceptions and identity level in general. A contrast ANOVA verified that the difference was explained by grouping the six stages into two as Brady suggested. When the ANOVA and tukey test s w ere run among all six stages, no significance difference was noted between any of the si x, despite having an overall significant result. This may be the result of not having large enough sample size to statistically validate the differences among the six stages, or may be that the effects themselves are not detectable unless the simpler inte rpretation is used. Future research involving the GIQ should also investigate all possible grouping of the stages to determine if a different combination other than the one used in this analysis would more fully explain the significant result. Of the twen GIQ, six were bisexual, four were lesbian, and fifteen were questioning. Noting that improve its effective ness. The validity questions in the current GIQ use terms such as homosexual, yet still describe non heterosexual identities. Refinement of the terminology
Climate perceptions/Identity 87 as well as an update of questions in a two stage format would reinvent the GIQ for future studies. Finally, the environment al impacts on identity development have been previously do cumented. However, the results of this study have shown that homosexual identity development has a significant relationship to how students perceive the environment in which they are learning. Students with a more developed sense of identity up to stage five, had a higher mean score on questions regarding feelings about campus climate. Those higher scores indicate a greater perception o f harassment and discrimination, perhaps caused by their growing acceptance of their identity as a non heterosexual pers on, and the internalization of discrimination originally seen as impacting others is now viewed as impacting them. Now that this identity development and climate perception relationship has been established, future research needs to examine what interventi ons within the environment are effective in altering perceptions of campus climate, which may in turn impact identity development by reducing the likelihood of events that cause identity foreclosure While this progression towards identity development caus e s perceptions of campus climate to seem initially negative, the results show achieving the final stage of identity development actually reduces the negative perceptions scores to a lower level. T his study did not examine racial or gender subgroups specif ically to determine any differences between identity development and climate perceptions. Given the complex nature of overall identity development, further study into the specific impact of these student characteristics will provide additional data that w ill benefit development of
Climate perceptions/Identity 88 targeted initiatives among racial subgroups and of women and men. Data from this study indicated that gay men and transgender students were perceived to experience harassment and discrimination at significantly higher rates than other sexual minorities, which may indicate a gender issue that impacts the student experience at USF.
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104 About the Author Frederic Drury Baker holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in American History from the State University of New York at Albany, and a Master of Science in Student Personnel Administration degree from Buffa lo State College. He served as a Hall D irector at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, before advanc ing to the University of South Florida (USF) in Tampa. At USF he served as Area Coordinator for the Andros Complex, Coordinator of Reside nce Education, and Student Judicial Services Coordinator. During his tenure at USF, Frederic won several awards, including the Division o f Student Affairs Lighting the W ay Award, Residence Services Employee of the Year, and State Advisor of the Year. D r. Baker is currently the Assistant Dean of Students at the University of New Haven, where he serves as student conduct administrator and oversees the residential life operation.