Campus Pride, an organization known for helping colleges and universities become safer for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students, recently created their annual list of “Top 25 LGBT-Friendly Colleges and Universities” in the United States. Case Western made the list, along with universities like Ithaca College, Princeton University, Rutgers University, Ohio State University and University of Michigan.
The organization listed the 25 universities alphabetically instead of giving rankings. The data collected to create the list was based off the Campus Pride Index. The index allows LGBT people to assess their campus free of charge by answering over 50 questions that fall under eight more general LGBT-friendly factors.
In order to make the final list, each campus must achieve five stars overall in the index as well as five stars in sexual orientation and gender identity/expression for a LGBT-friendly campus.
“At CWRU, LGBT individuals are not just tolerated – they are celebrated. Support for the community here on campus is overwhelming and is displayed at all levels, from the students all the way up to President Snyder,” said junior Mike Siberski, a student coordinator at the LGBT Center.
In addition, each university needs to score at least 4.5 stars or higher in the following eight general factors: LGBT Policy Inclusion, Support and Institutional Commitment, Academic Life, Student Life, Housing, Campus Safety, Counseling and Health and Recruitment and Retention Efforts.
“We are proud and honored to have been recognized for all of the hard work, at all levels, that has contributed to this high ranking. While there is always important work to be done, we are thrilled that others now know what we know—CWRU values diversity and is a great place for LGBT students,” said LGBT-center director, Liz Roccoforte.
In order for a university to participate in Campus Pride’s index, they must “come out” and claim the label within the index itself. The index grew for the seventh consecutive year, bringing the 2011 total of 290 to almost 400 colleges. Campus Pride says there are still many, many other colleges and universities that must “come out” as well to improve the campus environment for their students.
Campus Pride also hopes the questionnaire used to gauge the LGBT friendliness serves as a tool that universities and colleges may use to make their campuses safer all across the country.
Photos credit to Mary Kate Macedonia / Observer