Letters to Editor, Opinion

Letter to the Editor: An open letter on Boston University’s climate for LGBTQIA+ students

Letters to the Editor do not reflect the editorial opinion of The Daily Free Press. They are solely the opinion of the author.

We, the LGBTQIA+ Boston University Student Task Force, are a united front of passionate students and alums dedicated to creating a more affirming, welcoming and supportive environment for all LGBTQIA+ students. 

In Spring 2022, we took charge to assess the climate for LGBTQIA+ students and identify systemic areas of concern. Inspired by the 2018 LGBTQIA+ Task Force for Faculty & Staff, we conducted a comprehensive climate survey to learn more about LGBTQIA+ students’ experiences, compared the inclusive practices at 46 peer and peer+ institutions and interviewed key stakeholders in LGBTQIA+ student inclusion.

We believe that BU must do much more to support LGBTQIA+ students, especially those who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and Transgender, Gender Non-conforming and Intersex (TGNCI).

Our findings indicate that BU has historically contributed to a culture of pervasive invisibility and system. Our climate survey reveals that only 8.3% of LGBTQIA+ BU students are satisfied with the amount of LGBTQIA+ institutional resources provided. We also found that BU ranks last out of 46 peer and peer-adjacent institutions regarding LGBTQIA+ support and resources.

We are deeply concerned by LGBTQIA+ students’ reports of frequent harassment, discrimination and bias at the hands of BU community members. These issues include denial of equitable, accessible and gender-inclusive services such as on-campus housing, and high levels of burnout among LGBTQIA+ student activists contending with enormous service burdens to provide (unpaid) LGBTQIA+ student support.

Our findings also reveal systemic failures by the Dean of Students Office — and the Dean of Students specifically — to properly identify and address LGBTQIA+ students’ concerns. Students have shared having a “horrendous time” trying to get support, feeling like their “mere existence is a massive burden for BU staff to accommodate” and noting that the DOS Office has been a “historically unsafe and indifferent space for queer and trans students seeking help.”

Students are tired of the placatory “change is coming” response they have been hearing for years. It is time for concrete action to be taken. Thus, we call upon BU to implement the 16 urgent recommendations outlined in our 2022 Final Report. Our recommendations provide a multifaceted and intersectional approach to addressing the pervasive structural and interpersonal issues present at BU. 

We need collective action to ensure BU administration understands the urgency of all our recommendations. Please consider taking the action steps outlined here, including signing our open letter, emailing BU administration and stakeholders, and sharing our findings on social media.

We proudly stand with our LGBTQIA+ and allied community members and encourage folks to reach out if there is anything more we can do to support you or bring visibility to your experiences, needs, or concerns.

In solidarity,

The LGBTQIA+ BU Student Task Force

[email protected]




6 Comments

  1. Wow… these are some serious findings. Looking forward to seeing how BU addresses this. Great work by your Task Force on bringing visibility to these issues.

  2. Thank you for your dedication to improving BU for future students. I commend your efforts

  3. Queer BU alum

    HUGE thank you to the task force for doing this work! It’s been long overdue. The university should be ashamed that this kind of research and initiative isn’t coming directly from them, and that they are leaving it up to unpaid students and alums to do instead….

  4. Seeing that BU ranks last out of 46 schools and that even BC (a Jesuit/Catholic school) has more LGBTQ resources is downright embarrassing for BU

  5. trans & queer bu alum

    I love how the report talks about the issue BU relying on unpaid LGBTQ+ students to support other students, rather than providing institutional support and professional staff. But then BU doesn’t even do the bare minimum of giving those student activists the resources, compensation, or visibility to help them be successful and prevent burnout and rapid student turnover rates. Why should the burden be solely on students who are struggling and marginalized themselves?

  6. You have our full support at BU Parents United and we are so incredibly proud of the diligent and fair report you submitted to BU asking for qualitative change beyond words on paper. It’s what the late John Lewis called “ Good Trouble “ because this is how our amazing university will shine again too. And as they do this our hope is that they realize how critical serious mental health and well-being changes and outreach are as well at BU , desperately needed to avoid any more trauma and suicides. After all, we are all in this together.

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