Frequently Asked Questions
While there’s no easy way to fully describe the campus climate at any college or university, we have addressed some questions you may have about LGBTQ Campus Life at the University of Richmond.
Yes! Sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression are included in the University’s non-discrimination policy.
Quite a few, actually! SCOPE (Students Creating Opportunities, Pride, and Equality) head up much of the social and activist efforts among LGBTQ students on campus. Additionally we have the Equality Alliance which works on LGBTQ issues in our law school. Finally we have Icebreakers, our confidential support group for those who need to talk about issues around sexual and gender identity.
Yes! Common Ground is home to LGBTQ Campus Life, and includes an associate director position dedicated to LGBTQ Campus Life and an LGBTQ Lounge space. We offer support, advocacy, and programming for LGBTQ students and their allies.
Our LGBTQ Lounge features lots of great resources on coming out, from brochures, to books, and even movies. Icebreakers is a confidential support group run by trained student facilitators and is meant to assist students who are in the process of coming out or need to talk about issues surrounding sexual and/or gender identity. We also have great allies in CAPS (Counseling And Psychological Services) as well as the Chaplaincy for those seeking more emotional or spiritual support. Finally, our Safe Zone Allies are trained in supporting students through their coming out process.
Support for LGBTQ students on campus is widespread. Here are just a few highlights:
- Our Safe Zone Program trains faculty/staff and students on LGBTQ issues. We have trained over 400 of our campus community to be allies.
- The Office of Alumni and Career Services is a Gold Certified member of Out for Work and works hard to guide the career paths of our LGBTQ students. Additionally our LGBTQ Spiders Alumni Group supports LGBTQ Alumni.
- The Office of International Education offers support for LGBTQ students looking to study abroad and many of their advisors are Safe Zone Allies.
- Every staff member in the Student Health Center is a member of Safe Zone, and the office created a web page specifically for LGBTQ health care.
- Nearly all staff members in Recreation and Wellness, Counseling and Psychological Services, the Chaplaincy, Admission, and Richmond College and Westhampton College deans’ offices, among others, have attended the Safe Zone workshop.
- Many Boatwright Library staff are also supportive members of Safe Zone, and they created a special portal to LGBTQ library holdings.
- The Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program offers many courses that include or focus on the experiences and issues of LGBTQ people.
- The Office of the President provides important leadership in improving the campus climate, including spearheading UR’s participation in the Campus Pride's LGBT College Climate Survey.
Common Ground's LGBTQ Campus Life iniative offers several signature events for LGBTQ students including:
Additionally we offer workshops, discussions, and speakers throughout the year that speak to the LGBTQ experience. Our LGBTQ student organizations, SCOPE (Students Creating Opportunities, Pride, & Equity), and the Equality Alliance in the Law School hold meetings, discussions, and programs throughout the year. Check out our calendar on the LGBTQ Campus Life Home Page for more event information.
The campus has a well-thought out Bias Incident Protocol that includes numerous options for reporting such incidents. The protocol also specifies that a Bias Resource Team convene when incidents are likely to have community-wide ramifications. The team, which includes many of the University’s highest-ranking officials, then guides the campus through any crisis with a special emphasis on ensuring that those who have been made to feel vulnerable by an incident garner the institution’s full support and compassion.
In the past year alone, more than 400 members of the campus community became members of the Safe Zone program. Most of the members are staff or faculty, and nearly all of them display their Safe Zone signs, which indicate their eagerness to support LGBTQ students. A listing of some of the LGBTQ and allied Safe Zone members is posted online.
Of course, there are many other members of the campus community who have not been able to attend a workshop, but still offer support to LGBTQ students.
Yes! Same-Sex Domestic Partner Benefits are available for same-sex partners of faculty and staff. These benefits include health and dental coverage, flexible spending accounts, tuition benefits, leave benefits, library and recreational facility privileges, and the employee assistance program (EAP).
The city of Richmond is full of resources for LGBTQ students. Diversity Richmond offers members of the Richmond community access to support groups, visiting exhibitions, and actively supports local LGBTQ causes.
The (ROSMY) focuses on LGBTQ issues within area school systems, and serves as a welcoming environment for LGBTQ youth in the Richmond area. In recent years, ROSMY has hosted a successful alternative prom as well as discussion groups related to transgender issues and leadership development among youth.
The LGBTQ community of Richmond is also served by the Health Brigade. The first HIV/AIDS clinic in Virginia, the Health Brigade provides free HIV testing and a transgender clinic.
Southerners On New Ground (SONG) focuses on racial and economic justice in a queer context and works to support LGBTQ people of color. Richmond is home to one of their many field offices.
GayRVA, Richmond’s leading online magazine dedicated to the LGBTQ community, provides an up-to-the-minute look into Richmond’s LGBTQ culture.