California state colleges and universities may ask students to include their sexual orientation when applying.
Divulging this information would be optional. It would be used to measure the number of LGBT students on campus and to help assess whether the facilities and services provided for LGBT students are adequate.
The proposed change would affect the largest group of schools in America.
“It would be useful to know if we are underserving the population,” Jesse Bernal, the UC system’s interim diversity coordinator, told the Los Angeles Times.
It also “sends a positive message of inclusiveness to LGBT students and creates an environment that is inclusive and welcoming of diverse populations,” he added.
This move follows the new Californian state law which forces schools to allow their students to be open about their sexual orientation. The law was brought in after a study showed that LGBT university students have higher rates of depression and suffer more hostility than their heterosexual peers.
However, State Senator Tom Harman, who voted against the bill last autumn, is concerned the information could be misused or improperly divulged.
He said “It is an invasion of privacy”.
Others worry that as parents are able to view students’ applications, it could propel unwarranted updates on their private lives.