LGBTQ+ Pride at Worcester State
Worcester State’s Strategic Plan outlines our aim to cultivate a vibrant campus life and a collaborative working and learning environment in which all members of our community feel welcomed, included, respected, empowered, and valued.
In support of LGBTQ+ students, faculty, and staff, we formed the Gender Identity working group which was tasked with identifying changes that could make us more inclusive. Today, the LGBTQ+ Advisory Group works to centralize resources being offered at the institution, state and national levels.
Message from President Barry Maloney
As Worcester State University strives to become one of the most accepting and inclusive campuses, we launch this web site providing information and resources not just for those who identify as LGBTQ+, but for everyone.
We established the Campus Climate Committee several years ago. Survey research the group undertook uncovered that we must do more to improve the experiences of all underrepresented groups, and, especially, those who identify as LGBTQ+. The Gender Identity working group (now the LGBTQ+ Advisory group) has since revamped our policies and procedures in areas such as data collection and campus records related to gender identity, chosen name, and pronouns.
Workshops and skill building sessions were held in academic year 2018-2019 to promote awareness and facilitate implementation of those changes. I appreciate the leadership the Gender Identity working group has demonstrated in moving us forward.
From this site, you can learn about resources available to, as well as the achievements and experiences of, our LGBTQ+ students, faculty, and staff. I ask you to explore it, and to do your part to make Worcester State University one of the most welcoming and inclusive campuses.
Campus Pride Index
In the Spring of 2021, the Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Equal Opportunity, in collaboration with the LGBTQIA+ Advisory Group, participated in the Campus Pride Index initiative to evaluate the University’s current environment and review recommended changes as well as a means of measuring future progress. The Campus Pride Index is an overall indicator of institutional commitment to LGBTQ-inclusive policies, programs and practices. Worcester State University is proud to receive a Campus Pride Index score of 4.5 out of 5. For more detailed information, please visit Worcester State’s Campus Pride Index.
LGBTQ+ Spotlight Profiles
Alexandra Burgess is an Assistant Professor in the Psychology department at Worcester State University. She wanted to share some of her experiences as a member of this community.
What would you like students to know about the Worcester State community?
As a faculty member, my passion is helping students learn, develop as thinkers and citizens, and achieve their academic and career goals. The Worcester State community of faculty share this mission – they are dedicated to helping each student grow along their unique trajectory, which means recognizing and honoring the diversity within the student body.
Can you share a piece of your coming out story at Worcester State?
The psychology department at Worcester State is a warm, welcoming, and affirming environment for faculty and, we hope, students! As a result, my “coming out” at Worcester State was a simple mention of my wife in passing during conversation. My hope is that everyone’s experience of acknowledging a component of their identity is as smooth and easy!
What do you love about working/teaching at Worcester State?
Our students! I love seeing the massive growth that happens from freshman to senior year. I love watching their passions emerge and helping them to navigate the route towards their next big step!
Do you have any advice for those that have faced adversity and how to overcome it?
This advice may be trite at this point – but it really does get better! If your current community is not accepting of your identity, have hope! Communities change over time. More importantly, you will build your own accepting and loving community as you move through the world.
Title IX & the LGBTQ+ Community
LGBTQ+ individuals are at greater risk for being victimized by acts of sexual violence and experience higher rates of gender-based and sexual discrimination.
Title IX, Title VII, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), and the Worcester State University Title IX policy collectively prohibit discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender expression and sexual identity. Worcester State is committed to protecting people of all genders and sexual identities from harassment and discrimination as expressed in our Equal Opportunity, Diversity and Affirmative Action Plan.
Note: The Trump Administration’s rescission of the 2016 Office of Civil Rights Guidance on Transgender Students under Title IX has no legal effect on Massachusetts public colleges and universities. The Commonwealth itself provides protections to transgender individuals through state legislation and executive orders, and our Equal Opportunity Plan has protected transgender individuals since before the Commonwealth enacted its legislation.
Update: January 20, 2021 – We are happy to update the rescinded guidance from the Trump Administration. See the Executive Order on Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation.
Options, Rights & Resources
If you have experienced any form of sexual violence or discrimination based on sex, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation, please contact the Title IX Coordinator, Jennifer Quinn (firstname.lastname@example.org, 508-929-8243) to report the incident and receive any support and guidance that may be needed.
- Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Equal Opportunity: email@example.com or 508-929-8053
- Bias Incident Response Team: All members of the Worcester State community who experience or witness a bias incident should immediately report the incident via the Bias Incident Reporting. All reports of bias incidents are directed to the EO Officer and/or their designee(s) and then taken to the Bias Incident Response Team (BIRT). Find out about additional reporting options.
- Find out more about confidential reporting options and resources.
Worcester State University is committed to a policy of non-discrimination, equal opportunity, diversity and affirmative action, and dedicated to providing educational, working and living environments that value the diverse backgrounds of all people. Worcester State University does not discriminate in admission or access to, or treatment or employment in, its educational programs and activities on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, marital or parental status, or veteran status.
For more information or to report discrimination please contact the Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Equal Opportunity.
- You have the right to present your gender however you choose.
- You have the right to have your correct name and pronouns respected.
- You have the right to engage in romantic and intimate relationships with people of any gender.
- You have the right to safety in an environment free from harassment, intimidation, or threats of harassment or intimidation.
- You have the right to knowledgeable and respectful healthcare providers.
- Abusers might attempt to wield control by threatening to “out” the survivor to friends, family or employers.
- Fear they will not be believed if they report an incident.
- Fear they will lose the support of their community.
- Fear that reporting the crime to the police or local agencies will expose them to discrimination, homophobia, or gender policing.
In a recent update to university policy, students, faculty, and staff can now designate a chosen first name, pronouns, and non-binary gender identity within our information system. Chosen name will be used on internal campus communications wherever a legal name is not necessary.
Your chosen name will be reflected throughout the university’s computer information systems (including course registration lists, OneCard, Blackboard, and email addresses), and will be the official way you will be addressed throughout your daily life in our campus community. Students who would like to update information can visit the Registrar’s Office and fill out the “Chosen Name, Gender Identity, and Pronoun Request Form.”
After the form has been processed, you can update your OneCard and email address. For email address updates, submit a help desk ticket.
Faculty and staff interested in updating their information should contact Director of Employee Services, Sue Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about records and data collection, please see our Chosen Name and Pronoun Policy.