LGBT Job Fair to Restrict Attendance of Straight Students

Tuesday, 29 Jul 2014 01:30 PM

By Melanie Batley

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Competitive business schools encourage students to attend career recruitment events, and in some cases straight students have been attending events designed for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students, prompting one prominent LGBT group to try to restrict them from registering, Bloomberg Businessweek reported.

In a presentation at the Graduate Management Admission Council's annual conference last month, Matt Kidd, executive director of the LGBT group Reaching Out MBA, told schools that the attendance of straight recruits has become offensive to LGBT students.

At last year's Reaching Out MBA conference, 10 percent or more of the roughly 1,100 attendees were straight, and concerns were raised after some students tried to make clear they were heterosexual and took issue with the focus of the event being on sexual orientation.

Some of LGBT students told Kidd they overheard comments such as, "Dude, I’m not gay," or "There needs to be less focus on gay stuff at this event."

As a result, Reaching Out MBA will now redesign the registration process for the conference so as to weed out straight students.

But in an increasingly competitive job market, some school officials take issue with attempts to make events more exclusive.

"There are recruiters there who are happy to talk to anyone that's talented," said Chequeta Allen, executive director of the career management center at William & Mary's business school. "The idea of those groups is to ensure inclusiveness, not to say, 'We only want LGBT people.'"

Meanwhile, conferences aimed at minorities, for example, have also seen an increase in students outside the intended demographic target, according to Businessweek.

In contrast to Kidd's views, Manny Gonzalez, chief executive officer of the National Society of Hispanic MBAs, believes minority students can benefit from the increase in attendance of non-Hispanics.

"We live in a diverse world. So whether you go to a Fortune 500 company or a midsize business, you'll be engaged in a diverse workforce," Gonzalez told Businessweek. "The more exposure as a student you have in these communities, the more you learn."

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