Students at UNH all know that they must fulfill the university’s Discovery Program requirements. The “Core Curriculum Requirement” consists of eight categories within the 400-600 course levels: biological science, physical science, environment, technology and society, fine and performing arts, historical perspectives, humanities, social sciences and world cultures. UNH requires these courses for students to graduate in hopes of providing students a solid foundation for inquisitive problem solving, scientific reason, an appreciation of the arts and humanities, research skills and communication.”
While the Discovery program is often one many students often complain about, it is important to include multiple subjects within a college degree to ensure a well rounded higher education. With society rapidly changing, these requirements should reflect the subjects students will soon come across within their transition to the real world.
Just as it states in the Discovery Program section of the UNH website, the program is “…designed to represent the faculty’s collective belief in what constitutes and contributes to the essential knowledge of the world.” That is why we at The New Hampshire believe there should be some sort of requirement for all students to learn about social justice, especially education on LGBTQ+ issues. The faculty at UNH should have the general knowledge of society as a whole in the forefront of their minds.
In the midst of this progressive era for the LGBTQ+ community, the people of our nation are expected to be more informed and familiar with how to be understanding as well as supportive. LGBTQ+ educators at UNH do a wonderful job spreading the word, but it is not their job to reach every student. They deserve assistance from the university to facilitate a deeper understanding of how to navigate topics and recognize the facts and proper support for current and future friends, family and colleagues within the LGBTQ+ community. It is also important for students to understand that it is not the job of LGBTQ+ educators to find them. Being proactive and taking it upon oneself to become knowledgeable is just the beginning of what all students need to understand about this topic.
It is time to realize that accepting this is not a choice, but a vital aspect in the future of our nation. For starters, it takes a lot of courage for LGBTQ+ people to be open about who they are. It is unfortunate that we live in a world where prejudice is prevalent and where discrimination of this community is legal. Recognizing facts and learning how to support all genders and sexual orientations is something that UNH should take in as a school-wide mission. We at The New Hampshire understand that there is no easy way to come about doing this. However, there are many options to consider such as creating a social justice inquiry or adding a freshman experience requirement for all majors that includes safe space education.
Until then, we hope students will take action in learning about the LGBTQ+ community by doing self-research, attending events, or reaching out to educators. Please remember that there are a lot of questions you can answer yourself by using a combination of Google and reliable online resources. It is also very important to remember that you should never ask a community member a question you wouldn’t ask someone who is straight, for example, personal questions on their sexual orientation or body unless in a situation where the person has made it clear they are open to answering.
One very simple task we are asking all students to take upon themselves starting now is to stop any anti-LGBTQ+ statements or jokes you hear friends or classmates say. A quick “That is not ok to say” or, “Please don’t use that language” is a good start.
As the Human Rights Campaign states, there is no right way to become a supportive or understanding friend, classmate or colleague but there is a process that everyone can go through in learning how to be a supportive individual. That is a process we hope will soon carry over into the core of our university.