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Elmhurst College: Pioneering Tolerance «

Elmhurst College: Pioneering Tolerance

Recognizing Difference in Our Society
Throughout the years in the United States of America and other countries, minorities have been persecuted for their differences. While it is a shameful part of our past, corrections were made to change the prevailing attitudes towards different groups of people. The Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s helped to foster equality between African Americans and other residents of the United States. Attitudes towards people of Asian descent were quite negative during World War II, but this changed over time. There are still groups in the United States that are facing some backlash for their beliefs or lifestyles. Gay people are currently one of the groups in America who are struggling to achieve recognition and acceptance. They are trying to achieve a voice in American politics as couples by legalizing gay marriage and lobbying for equal treatment.

Elmhurst College Asks a New Question on Admissions Application
The LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community’s efforts to gain a voice are working, particularly at a small college in Illinois. Elmhurst College, in Elmhurst, Ill., is the first school in the nation to ask about an applicant’s sexual orientation on their application. The question posed is, “Would you consider yourself a member of the LGBT community?” Answering the question is optional and college officials said they are asking the question to increase diversity at their school and the number of LGBT students at Elmhurst College. This is a strong step towards recognizing the need for acceptance of diverse groups of people, whether due to race, sexual orientation, gender, or other factors.

Elmhurst College: A History and Outline
Elmhurst College is located in Elmhurst, Ill. (a suburb of Chicago) and has a 48-acre campus. It is affiliated with the United Church of Christ. The school boasts an enrollment of 3,400 undergraduates and 230 postgraduate students. Elmhurst College’s athletic teams are known as the Blue Jays and compete in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin in the NCAA’s Division III.

The college was founded in 1871 as a school seeking to prepare young men for the theological seminary. The classes were all taught in German until 1917, when the course catalog was first published in English. The school was a men’s college until 1930 when women first enrolled at the school. In 1998, Elmhurst College began offering graduate programs.

Future Ramifications of Elmhurst College’s Decision
Elmhurst College’s decision to ask student’s about their sexual orientation is a landmark step in the fight for equal rights and treatment for LGBT individuals. There has been quite a positive response to Elmhurst College’s actions with officials at other schools voicing their support. It is important that people regard everyone with respect based on their actions rather than their natural qualities like sexual orientation, race, or gender. Since Elmhurst College is asking this question for the 2012-2013 school year application, it will be interesting to see the response that they receive from applicants relative to previous years. This will show the level of support for their decision.

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