In a show of support for IUP’s LGBTQIA+ community, the Center for Multicultural Student Leadership and Engagement recently raised an inclusive rainbow flag on the lawn just south of Elkin Hall’s Great Room. A formal dedication will take place Tuesday, October 12, at noon.

The inclusive rainbow flag on the lawn just south of Elkin Hall’s Great Room, in front of the Center for Multicultural Student Leadership and Engagement.

The center arranged the installation in response to LGBTQIA+ students who said flying a rainbow flag can go a long way in helping students feel included on campus. These students may feel unwelcome, for example, when others fail to honor and respect their preferred first names or pronouns, such as the use of “they” instead of “he” or “she.”

IUP’s new flag is the inclusive pride flag, which includes transgender and Black and Brown colors.

The project was made possible in part through the “It’s on Us PA” campaign, which combats sexual violence.

“The ‘It’s on Us’ grant allows campuses to make positive changes through efforts such as visibility,” Tedd Cogar, senior assessment coordinator and LGBTQIA Support, said.

Support for LGBTQIA+ students at IUP goes beyond raising a flag:

  • IUP has a dedicated LGBTQIA Support office, located in Elkin Hall, which provides year-round programming, including weekly support discussions through Queer Conversations.
  • New student support groups this year include a transgender and nonbinary support group and a graduate LGBTQIA+ group.
  • Several student groups at IUP, including Pride Alliance and Queer Colors, support LGBTQIA+ students.
  • A new LGBTQIA+ affinity housing community welcomed students for the first time this fall, giving them a place to live together in greater community.
  • Beyond the specific housing community, IUP’s Gender-Inclusive Housing Policy enables LGBTQIA+ students to live on campus in groups they are comfortable with.
  • The Preferred First Name Policy allows students, faculty, staff, and alumni to indicate their preferred first name to the university community, even if they have not legally changed their name.
  • Efforts are moving forward to designate more than 70 restrooms across campus as all-gender restrooms. Locations of all-gender restrooms can be found on the IUP Interactive Map. New signage for these restrooms will be installed in October.

Any incidents of concern should be reported to the Social Equity office, which is advised by the LGBTQIA Commission. Composed of faculty, staff, and students, the commission addresses issues that affect the welfare of LGBTQIA-identified members of the university community.