Foremost Authority on LGBTQ+ Higher Education Measures Safety, Inclusiveness, and Resources on Campuses For LGBTQ+ Students, Faculty, and Staff
Campus Pride, the preeminent resource for LGBTQ+ leadership development, diversity, and advocacy within higher education, announced the inclusion of Indiana University on its annual "Best of the Best Colleges and Universities" for LGBTQ+ students in the United States.
"IU has long been staunchly committed to providing services, support, and mentorship opportunities for LGBTQ+ students," says James Wimbush, vice president for diversity, equity, and multicultural affairs and the Johnson Chair for Diversity and Leadership at Indiana University. "Being the best of the best means IU innovates to embrace, serve, and celebrate its queer community. The recognition from Campus Pride affirms this commitment and acknowledges the hard work of many dedicated staff members and others to make IU's campuses places of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
This support includes the Gender Affirming Closet, which provides free clothing to anyone interested with no requirements for gender identity/expression; an LGTBQ+ Mentoring Program that offers support and guidance to incoming LGBTQ students; and ongoing workshops, podcasts, and informational resources to learn more about the LGBTQ community.
"We are excited to again be named to Campus Pride's list," says Bruce E. Smail, M.A., director of the LGBTQ+ Culture Center and special assistant to the vice president for diversity, equity, and multicultural affairs.
"There are so many efforts and partners that support our recognition. Whether it's the LGBTQ+ Culture Center with innovative programs; the first Queer Philanthropy Circle that has provided over $250k for LGBTQ+ Programs; the LGBTQ+ Alumni Association with several scholarships for our students; Spectrum - our LGBTQ+ Living and Learning Community; Queer Student Union for empowering student leadership and advocacy; or the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs sponsoring the first national HIV conference at a major university - Indiana University is an amazing environment for LGBTQ+ communities," Smail says.
Abbey Stemier, chair and founding member of Indiana University's Queer Philanthropy Circle, echoes the importance of those efforts, as well as the impact of the QPC on LGBTQ students.
"The QPC is thrilled by the recognition as we are a part of IU's endeavors to make it the most welcoming university for the queer students, faculty, and staff. We've done so by pooling the money of parents, alumni, and many others to support student and faculty-led initiatives. As the first university-based giving circle in the nation, we've given hundreds of thousands of dollars to IU-led initiatives ranging from research to prevent queer teen suicide and scholarships for those who have recently come out to gender-affirming care for students on campus," she says.
The announcement from Campus Pride features 40 four-year campuses from across the country. These campuses achieved 5 out of 5 stars on the Campus Pride Index (CPI), the definitive national benchmarking tool measuring LGBTQ-friendly policies, programs, and practices.
Campuses receive a percentage score from 90 to 100 based on their LGBTQ-inclusive policies, programs, and practices to earn a ranking of 5 out of 5 stars. The methodology to determine this year's Best of the Best List was based on an overall score of 93 percent or higher.
According to Shane Windmeyer, Campus Pride's executive director, the Best of the Best List was first developed to shine a spotlight on the accomplishments of colleges and universities that had created safer, more welcoming campuses for LGBTQ+ people.
"Students, prospective students, and their families, along with faculty and staff members, deserve to know whether they will be safe on campus so that they can make the best choices for their academic success. By creating inclusive, safe environments, these colleges are taking responsibility for all students, Windmeyer explains.
"At a time when LGBTQ+ rights and other civil rights are under assault in states across the country, including Texas and Florida, it is as important as ever to recognize the campuses in these states working to create spaces where the next generation of LGBTQ+ leaders can learn and flourish," notes Tom Elliott, Campus Pride board chair.
Go to campuspride.org/BestoftheBest to see Campus Pride's 2022 Best of the Best Colleges & Universities and www.campusprideindex.org to view the Campus Pride Index's complete listing of LGBTQ-friendly colleges and universities.
Visit the website lgbtq.indiana.edu to learn more about IU's LGBTQ+ resources and support.