Usually students from sexual minorities describe Higher Education contexts as unwelcoming and chilly environments, compared with their counterparts. These disparities in climate perceptions, often, lead to negative health and academic discomfort.
However, up to now, researches collecting the experience of sexual minority students within European Higher Education Institutions is limited.
A group of researchers from the University of Naples “Federico II” (Italy), led by Dr. Amodeo, sought to expand previous empirical evidence by investigating the associations between sexual minority status, students’ perceptions of campus climate, psychological (i.e., anxiety–depression) and academic outcomes (i.e., intellectual and academic success, and considering leaving the university) in a sample of 868 Italian university students (17.9% sexual minority students).
The results showed that sexual minority students reported more negative perceptions of campus climate, which, in turn, were associated with higher levels of anxiety–depression symptoms, lowered academic success, and a high probability of considering leaving university.
Further research is needed to investigate the experience of sexual minority students within European Higher Education contexts and to explore possible actions that could contribute to fostering a greater sense of belonging to the campus community for all students, and particularly for students from sexual minority groups.
The three-years Erasmus+ project “XENIA: HE Inclusiveness Index” accepted the challenge to support Higher Education Institutions in promoting and implementing actions to contrast and prevent discrimination against gender and sexual marginalized identities. Capitalizing on the expertise of researchers and experts from 5 European Countries (Greece, Ireland, Italy, Slovenia, and Spain), XENIA will develop an operational tool – the XENIA Index - to support HEIs to measure, realise and value the relevance and efficacy of their diversity and inclusion policies and programmes.