Students at the University of Rhode Island began a peaceful direct action at midnight Thursday to focus on the unsafe environment for LGBT students, faculty, and staff on the campus.
Campus Pride, which works with LGBT and ally college and university students, called the protest a "real life example" of the findings in its 2010 State of Higher Education for LGBT People report, to be released in a briefing today at 10 a.m. on Capitol Hill.
Students have vowed to remain in the library's 24-hour room until the university responds to their demands for an improved climate on campus.
According to Campus Pride, "Among the findings in the report: One quarter (23%) of LGBQ staff, faculty, and students reported experiencing harassment (defined as any conduct that has interfered with your ability to work or learn). Almost all identified sexual identity as the basis of the harassment (83%). An even greater percentage of transgender students, faculty, and staff reported experiencing harassment (39%) with 87% identifying their gender identity/expression as the basis for the harassment. The form of the harassment experiences by transgender people was more overt and blatant. One-third of LGBQ (33%) and transgender (38%) students, faculty, and staff have seriously considered leaving their institution due to the challenging climate. More than half of all faculty, students, and staff hide their sexual identity (43%) or gender identity (63%) to avoid intimidation. More than a third of all transgender students, faculty, and staff (43%) and 13% of LGBQ respondents feared for their physical safety. This finding was more salient for LGBQ students and for LGBQ and/or transgender people of color."