IU Bloomington recognized as one of the top-25 most LGBTQ-friendly campuses

On the eve of his birthday, Doug Bauder, the director of IU Bloomington’s LGBTQ+ Culture Center (formerly the GLBT Student Support Services Office), received an early surprise: IU Bloomington was named to Campus Pride’s 2017 “Best of the Best” list of the top-25 LGBTQ-friendly colleges and universities in the U.S.

“I appreciate the accolades, but it is all about the fact that this is an affirming campus and I hope that I’ve been able to build on that. I’ve found the good people and maybe I’ve brought some folks out of the closet—queer folks, but also our allies. I’ve given them permission to stand with us, and that’s my great sense of accomplishment. So it’s wonderful to be recognized again,” said Bauder of the honor, which was made public Monday, August 28.

“Campus Pride is the organization in this country that looks very deeply into the work of universities, and I don’t know of anyone who does a more thorough search of what’s happening on college campuses, so it is an honor to be on that list. I’ve already heard from alumni and colleagues here on campus, and it makes us all proud.”

Established in 2001, Campus Pride is a national nonprofit network of dedicated to improving campus life for LGBTQ college students. This year marks the third consecutive year and fifth time overall that IU Bloomington has been named to Campus Pride’s list of top LGBTQ-friendly colleges and universities. The campus received the highest possible rating of five stars in Campus Pride’s LGBTQ-Friendly Campus Climate Index, an assessment it was last awarded in 2011.

“I am ecstatic that IU Bloomington is again earning national recognition as a place where people of all backgrounds can feel safe and welcomed. But it is a testament to Doug and his staff, countless campus partners, and of course, the amazing students on this campus, that this environment continues to be a place where, through tremendous support and collaboration, members of the LGBTQ community are able to thrive,” said James Wimbush, IU vice president for diversity, equity, and multicultural affairs, dean of the University Graduate School, and Johnson Professor for Diversity and Leadership.

That spirit of collaboration was evident throughout the 2016-17 academic year, as IU Bloomington’s LGBTQ+ Culture Center, an Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs (OVPDEMA) program, was involved in a multitude of programming with other programs on campus.

“The month of March, in particular, was very significant to me, as it began with [Professor Emerita and former director of IU Bloomington’s African American Dance Company] Iris Rosa calling on us to collaborate with her on the African American Dance Workshop at the beginning of the month. We were invited to collaborate with an amazing artist, Cesar Valentino, who’s a member of the Alvin Ailey Dance Company and does this wonderful lecture and demonstration on voguing,” said Bauder.

“Then, at the end of the month, as part of IU Bloomington’s celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we worked with the IU Cinema to highlight the film work of Popo Fan, a young artist and gay activist in Beijing, China. Just that month alone, those two events reminded me that we are respected and valued by the larger community, and people see those connections—again, the issue of intersectionality.

“The center isn’t so much of a support and counseling service as it once was, but a place for advocacy—for both the queer community and our allies—in the fullest sense of that word. We didn’t dream of that in the early days. Thanks to James and our great colleagues in OVPDEMA, people have recognized that issues of sexual orientation and gender identity are just part of a person’s identity. We’ve had the privilege now, for almost 25 years, to continue the conversation that the Kinsey Institute started 60 years ago,” he continued.

“At a time in our nation’s history when the President is banning the military service of a group of our transgender citizens, I am proud to represent one of the leading universities in our country which stands for the rights of the LGBTQ+ community and seeks to affirm their contributions to our culture. And I give thanks for the hundreds of students, faculty, staff, administrators and alumni who support our efforts.”