December 10th, 2019
TORONTO, ON - The Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) is proud to release our policy on improving post-secondary education for Two Spirit and LGBTQ+ Students. The paper was written, approved, and published by students to serve as a first step towards introducing improvements and to fill a gap in the policy landscape in support of gender and sexually diverse students in Ontario.
"OUSA's vision for an accessible, affordable, accountable and high quality post-secondary education in Ontario is a mandate for all students. That's why addressing the issues faced by Two Spirit and LGBTQ+ students with specific evidence-based policy is so crucial to ensuring a student's identity is never a barrier to accessing higher learning. We are grateful to all of the students and authors who offered their stories and lived experiences to inform this work.,” said Rayna Porter, Vice President for the Trent Durham Student Association and OUSA’s Vice President of Administration and Human Resources.
The paper identifies a number of concerns that Two Spirit and LGBTQ+ students face as a result of discrimination, harassment, and exclusion on their campuses, both systemic and interpersonal. Students are concerned about negative campus and community climates, gaps in health and wellness services, ineffective provincial polices, limited research and information, as well as a lack of training, education, and pre- and post-university supports.
In response to these concerns, students have proposed a number of recommendations that they believe the provincial government should adopt in order to support the experiences of Two Spirit and LGBTQ+ students on post-secondary campuses. Broadly, students are asking for recognition of intersecting identities, improvements to campus climates and health and wellness resources, amendments to strengthen provincial policies, support for research and information dissemination, and resources to increase training, education, and support for students as the enter and exit post-secondary.
"We want all students on our campuses to feel safe and comfortable so that they are able to be successful and enjoy their university experience,” said Katlyn Kotila, Vice President Education for the Students’ General Association and OUSA Steering Committee Member. “We hope that the provincial government adopts our recommendations to address the discrimination that Two Spirit and LGBTQ+ students face and demonstrates a commitment to supporting these students."
This policy paper and its recommendations were written by students and finalized following consultation with Ontario university students (attending one of OUSA’s membership schools) who identify under the LGBTQ+ umbrella. It was passed at OUSA’s Fall General Assembly on November 3rd 2019. To read it, click here.
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OUSA represents the interests of 150,000 professional and undergraduate, full-time and part-time university students at eight student associations across Ontario. Our vision is for an accessible, affordable, accountable, and high quality post-secondary education in Ontario.
Operations & Communications Coordinator
Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance