Date of Defense


Date of Graduation




First Advisor

Susan Freeman

Second Advisor

Nathan Nguyen


Campus climate, in general, has been a popular area of research for many years, and this also includes campus climate for LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, plus) students. Outside of the campus climate survey done back in 2013, there has been no recent campus climate research done on Western Michigan University’s campus as of Spring 2019. This means that there has been no research focusing on queer students’ perceptions of Western’s campus, as well.

In order to help and rectify this and create a platform in which queer students attending Western Michigan University could share their experiences, the current study focuses on LGBTQ+ students and their perceptions of safety on campus through the use of focus groups. Twenty participants were interviewed in groups of various sizes, being asked eight open-ended questions regarding their experiences of safety on campus. Every participant had to self-identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community, be a current Western Michigan University student, and be between the ages of 18 and 25. Each interview was ninety minutes or less.

In general, four themes emerged from the six interviews: general safety, visibility on campus, community, and respect. These themes are then explored by comparing and contrasting them with what is found in the overarching literature and delving into what the participants discussed. After that, a chapter is spent on recommendations: what certain portions of Western Michigan University could do or think about so that their queer students could potentially feel more welcomed on campus.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access