Black Colleges Fail to Welcome Gay Students and Groups

April 09, 2007

Gay students often feel unwelcome at historically black colleges, where homophobia may prevent classmates and administrators alike from acknowledging the presence of lesbians and gay men, reports the Associated Press.

The wire service says black colleges have a disproportionately small number of gay-student organizations, in some cases because the groups can’t find faculty members willing to serve as advisers. Hampton University has twice refused to permit a gay-student group to form because of a moratorium on the number of student organizations.

A representative of the Human Rights Campaign, an advocacy group, told the AP that some historically black colleges were hostile to the idea of allowing groups of gay students to meet, while others denied having any gay students.

But the head of the Coalition of African-American Pastors in Memphis, Tenn., said black-college administrators “don’t have to give a lot of reasons” for banning gay-student groups, because acceptance of homosexuality would be “a threat to the black family.” —Lawrence Biemiller