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Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) Life

Our campus and community are open and welcoming of all people. Colgate’s LGBTQ Initiatives is specifically dedicated to supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and ally students.

Contact Information

Staff Contact: Heather D. Dockstader, Interim Director, LGBTQ Initiatives

Staff Email:
Office Email:

Shaw Wellness Institute
Cutten Complex
13 Oak Drive, Hamilton, NY 13346

Ally Pledge

An ally is a person who supports, respects and accepts people of all gender identities and sexual orientations.

LGBTQ Support Across Campus

Reducing homophobia, transphobia, bias, and prejudice is our priority. In this effort, Colgate's Student Government Association voted unanimously on a bill in support of LGBTQ students and opposing hate-speech, read this bill here.

Out & About: Newsletter for the Colgate LGBTQ Community

Learn more about our very busy Fall 2013 semester!

As part of National Coming Out Day, students set up a door in the COOP to symbolize a closet. Students were asked to write their name and an experience or statement to show support for the difficulties that LGBTQ people face.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there an active LGBTQ student organization?
Yes! There are two SGA-recognized clubs that meet regularly:

Lambda provides a safe space for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning students to explore their identities. This relaxed group often focuses on support and social activities.
Advocates is the equivalent of a gay-straight alliance. It is responsible for LGBTQ-related activism on campus. Advocates sponsors events like National Coming Out Day, Day of Silence, Ally Appreciation Week, and Queerfest: Celebrating All Identities.
Is there a campus program for LGBTQ-related concerns?
Yes! LGBTQ Initiatives is a program open to all students. We are located in the same space as the Shaw Wellness Institute, in Cutten Hall. We do all of the following:
  • Provide educational training, such as Safe Zone
  • Sponsor speakers and authors whose work expands the campus conversation around gender and sexuality
  • Sponsor student conference presenters and participants for local and regional conferences
  • Offer a safe environment for you to explore gender identity, gender expression, sexuality, and sexual orientation
What is it like living on campus?
The Office of Residential Life is committed to providing a living environment that is welcoming to all gender identities. Gender inclusive housing affords Colgate students the option to live on campus with whomever they choose, regardless of biological sex, gender, or gender identity. Effective in the 2013-2014 academic year, upper-level students, regardless of their sex or gender, may request a gender-inclusive bedroom, suite, apartment, townhouse or college house living as part of the housing lottery process. First-year students may also request to live in gender inclusive housing but must do so by way of a special request made to the Office of Residential Life, prior to the room preference deadline.

Our students are very active in campus clubs and organizations. All LGBTQ groups are open to any student, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. These groups are very active in sponsoring programming and guest speakers on campus.
Are LGBTQ-sensitive counseling services available?
Yes! All members of our professional Counseling Center are trained to assist students of any sexual orientation or gender identity. Some of our staff have extensive training and experience working with LGBTQ clients. Additionally, the staff have attended Safe Zone training -- an educational program about the terminology, resources, coming out process, and experiences of those in the LGBTQ community.
What offices are supportive of LGBTQ students and issues?
In addition to the LGBTQ Initiatives office, you may turn to the Counseling Center, the Office of the Chaplains, and Health Services for confidential support and discussion about LGBTQ-related issues.

There are also faculty, staff, and students across campus who have participated in our Safe Zone program about the terminology, resources, coming out process, and experiences of those in the LGBTQ community. Those who have participated in the training mark their doors to indicate their space as a SafeZone. Most of the offices in the Dean of the College have participated in this training, as well as many other staff and students across campus.
What activities are sponsored for LGBTQ students?
Some programs include regular welcome mixers, awareness programs for National Coming Out Day, Bisexual Awareness Day, Transgender Day of Remembrance, alumni events, Day of Silence, guest speakers, movie nights, a weekly Family Dinner, and our Lavender Graduation Ceremony. The LGBTQ Studies minor program also sponsors a number of speakers and invited authors.
Do LGBTQ-related incidents occur on campus?
Unfortunately there have been past reported incidents related to LGBTQ harassment, homophobia, and discrimination. However, as an institution we do not tolerate harassment and discrimination, and such incidents are handled seriously. Support can be found with Safe Zone-trained faculty and staff, university harassment advisers, and the Counseling Center. Education is in an ongoing process of learning and growing for everyone on campus, and our community is increasingly inclusive and supportive.

Learn more about Colgate's bias, harassment, and sexual misconduct policies.
How does the university respond to LGBTQ-related incidents?
We take all LGBTQ bias and harassment incidents very seriously. Concerns or complaints can be reported to LGBTQ Initiatives, Campus Safety, or Lyn Rugg (University Harassment Officer), or by filing an online report. Depending on the type of incident and whether the perpetrator is known or not, there are a variety of ways Colgate may respond, including enforcing the Policy on Bias-Related Conduct and student handbook policies.
Is sexual orientation mentioned in the university's Policy on Bias-Related Conduct?
Yes! Currently, sex and sexual orientation are also included protected categories in our Policy on Bias-Related Conduct.

Federal and state laws, such as Title VI of the Civil Rights Act and the New York State Human Rights Law, prohibit discrimination and harassment that are based on a range of characteristics, including sexual orientation. New York State law specifically prohibits discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation, which is defined as an individual’s actual or perceived heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, or asexuality.
Does Colgate offer employees domestic partner benefits?

Yes! In order for a domestic partner to be included in the programs, a signed application (available from human resources) must be submitted. Colgate University extends the same benefits to persons who meet the university's definition of domestic partner that the university presently extends to spouses of employees to the extent permitted by law and by the underwriting guidelines imposed by the insurance companies. Find more information in the personnel policies and benefits handbook.