University Asks: Are You Gay or Straight?

Katie Pavlich

12/13/2012 8:04:00 AM - Katie Pavlich

The University of Iowa has become the first public institution of higher learning to ask students about their sexual orientation during the application process for admission.

The University of Iowa has become the first public U.S. university to ask incoming students about their sexual orientation and gender identity so they can be connected to relevant services once enrolled, the school said on Wednesday.

University officials said in a statement that their admissions office began asking those optional questions this fall in applications for entry.

The university's decision places it in the middle of a debate in higher education over whether to put such questions to students in a bid to become more inclusive, or to avoid doing so because it could be too intrusive.

"From a political and social perspective, this has been a long time coming," Georgina Dodge, University of Iowa's chief diversity officer and associate vice president, said in a statement.

The questionnaires will give the university, which enrolls more than 30,000 students, the knowledge it needs to better offer on-campus resources to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students, Dodge said.

This is the next wave of affirmative action, only this time with sexual orientation. What could go wrong?

Republicans in New Hampshire's state legislature have called for the first elected transgender official in the state - and the nation - to step down in light of a newspaper article that revealed her criminal past.

Stacie Marie Laughton, a Democrat, made history this month when she was elected to a seat in the New Hampshire House of Representatives from Hillsborough County, which includes Nashua. But a story in the Laconia Daily Sun revealed that Laughton was a convicted felon who served more than four months in jail for "conspiracy to commit credit card fraud" in 2008.

Candidates can run for office in New Hampshire after they've been convicted of a felony as long as they are not incarcerated and have completed any court-ordered sentence, according to the New Hampshire Secretary of State's Office.

Granite State House Majority Leader Pete Silva, R-Nashua, said Laughton's failure to inform Nashua voters about her background before the election was grounds for her resignation, according to the Nashua Patch.

Let's stick to academics and leave sexual orientation out of our public university admissions process.