LGBTQ Student Success Initiative

We are committed to promoting a safe and inclusive learning environment for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) students at Cascadia College, and in order to do this, we need your help!

Collecting data will allow us to know more about our students and thus, be better prepared to design and develop curricular and co-curricular programs that reflect students’ diverse perspectives and experiences.

We believe the implementation of this new process will serve as a testimony of our commitment to diversity, academic achievement and student success.

Program examples include:

  • Campus Safe Zones Projects and Training
  • LGBTQ/Diversity Student Centers
  • Student, Staff, and Faculty Professional Development
  • Mentoring for LGBTQ Organizations and Clubs
  • Course Offerings
  • Funding and Scholarships


Data Collection

When students register for classes, they will see two new questions:

What is your sexual orientation?

  • Bisexual
  • Gay
  • Lesbian
  • Straight/heterosexual
  • Other
  • Prefer not to answer

What is your gender identity?

  • Feminine
  • Masculine
  • Androgynous
  • Gender neutral
  • Transgender
  • Other
  • Prefer not to answer

These questions will be optional; however, we encourage students to provide this confidential information so we can design and implement programs and services that provide meaningful and rewarding learning opportunities for all students.For more information visit the History and Background and FAQs section of this page.

History and Background

Washington State Student Services Commission (WSSSC)
Lesbian, Gay Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ)
Student Success Initiative

This is a student-driven initiative that began at the 2011 Washington Community and Technical College (CTC) Students Legislative Voice Academy. Five Community College students, Matthew Shrader, Jacob Kovacs, Jonathan Russell, Dante Obcena, and Jake Atwell-Scrivner were engaged in developing a white paper and conducting presentations to the Admissions & Registrars Council (ARC), Council of Unions and Student Programs (CUSP), Multicultural Students Services Directors Council (MSSDC), and Washington State Student Services Commission (WSSSC).

The white paper promoted the Voice Academy’s priorities for the upcoming legislative session.  One of the five critical issues brought to the forefront was the recommendation to include LGBTQ demographic categories as part of our data collection on the CTC uniform admissions application. On February 3, 2012, the students presented a PowerPoint entitled “Washington State CTC Student Coalition for LGBTQ Demographics” to WSSSC.  The commission responded by agreeing that this was an important issue and recommended that a task force be formed.Subsequently, the WSSSC LGBTQ Student Success Task Force was formed representing the following councils and constituencies: WSSSC, ARC, student leaders, Institutional Research, and State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) Information Technology.


The Task Force held its first meeting on March 26, 2012. It concluded that further research was necessary to determine the following:

  1. The impact of this initiative on student success, achievement, and campus climate;
  2. Steps needed to implement the process from decision to operational level, including IT support; and
  3. A communication strategy to educate campuses and the broader community on the significant benefits of this timely initiative.

In Mallory Angelis’ report in the California Postsecondary Commission (CPEC, 2009) Newsletter entitled Access and Equity for all Students: Meeting the Needs of LGBT Students, she articulates that “there is a clear need for increased data collection and analysis on LGBT students. Consistent data on LGBT students is essential in tracking their progress throughout their educational career. Sexual orientation and gender identity should be considered its own demographic and colleges should collect and report LGBT data to CPEC in the same manner as gender, race, ethnicity, and disability data.”

While limited research has been conducted regarding LGBTQ students who attend community colleges, what is available clearly supports the need for colleges to be cognizant and aware of the LGBTQ students enrolled in their institutions. This information helps to create programs and services, curricular offerings and safe spaces for all students to study and learn free from harassment and discrimination.

The LGBTQ Student Success Task Force has determined through research, practitioner knowledge and student experience that implementing this initiative will serve as a visible testimony of the CTC’s commitment to diversity, academic achievement and student success.

In September, 2012 the LGBTQ Task Force presented their final Report to the Washington Community and Technical Colleges (WACTC) Educational Services Committee.  The Task Force implementation plan was endorsed by WACTC, and WSSSC members agreed to contribute the financial support necessary to implement this initiative.

The Task Force determined that data will be most effectively collected quarterly on registration forms used by colleges. Detailed guidelines have been developed indicating who will have access to the aggregated data, which will be non-identifiable to specific students. These data elements will be included as part of the student’s biographical record.

Collecting this data will allow colleges to know more about their students' progress and academic success.  As a result, colleges will be better prepared to design and develop curricular and co-curricular offerings that reflect their students' diverse perspectives, and that promote and safe and welcoming learning environment for all students. 

Based on preliminary research, it appears that the Washington State Community and Technical College system is the first of two-year public institutions in the country to begin collecting this data. The LGBTQ Student Success Task Force is proud of the work that has been done to implement this important initiative, and is appreciative of the support provided by college constituents across the State of Washington.  

Frequently Asked Questions
  1. Is there a specific reason you are collecting this data?
    Yes, we are collecting data to promote safe and welcoming learning environments, develop programs and services, and better track students’ progress and success.

  2. Will you report this information to outside agencies?

  3. What if I leave the question blank? Will you require me to select my sexual orientation?
    No, a student can select “Prefer not to answer.”

  4. Will this information be disclosed to my peers or professors?

  5. Who will have access to this registration information?
    Institutional research departments will have access to the data.

  6. Will I be able to update and change my status after I register for classes?

  7. Does your campus collect this information from faculty and staff?

  8. Will this information always be linked to my name?

  9. If I transfer schools, will you provide this information to them?

  10. If another school or entity asks you for this information, will you provide it to them?

  11. If I provide this information, will it be kept private?

  12. Does your campus have a clear procedure for reporting LGBTQ-related bias incidents and hate crimes?
Cascadia's Committment to Pluralism and Diversity

Cascadia believes in pluralism, an intentional culture where everyone's history contributes to the collective success of our community.

Visit the Our Diversity page for additional information.