Several Christian universities have been given high marks for being gay-friendly in a new report from Campus Pride, a non-profit organization aimed at making higher education more inclusive for LGBTQ students.
The 2021 “Best of the Best” list honors 30 four-year establishments in the United States that have achieved a perfect score of 5 on the Campus Pride Index, which assesses LGBTQ-friendly policies, programs and practices. These schools include Kent State University, Tufts University, North Kentucky University, Kenyon College, and the University of Virginia.
This year, Campus Pride also recognized 10 religious schools for “respecting the inclusive values of LGBTQ”.
To qualify for the rankings, colleges had to score 5 and be in the highest percentile on LGBTQ-friendly benchmarks. Religious institutions needed a 3.5 or higher to be in the spotlight.
“We wanted to recognize schools that, even though they might not have had a perfect score, are doing the job,” said Shane Windmeyer, executive director of Campus Pride. “Many religious colleges, especially these schools, are strengthening their commitment to inclusiveness. Just as four-year colleges recognize the importance of recognizing and being seen as inclusive and friendly, so have religious colleges.
Campus Pride recognized inclusive religious schools once before, in 2013, although only seven campuses achieved the grade at the time.
Some religious institutions on the 2021 list got a perfect score of 5 on the Campus Pride Index: Augsburg University of Minneapolis, affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church; Guilford College, a Quaker school in Greensboro, North Carolina; and Virginia Wesleyan University, historically affiliated with The United Methodist Church.
Emory University in Atlanta and Willamette University in Salem, Ore., Both affiliated with The United Methodist Church, each scored 4.5. Others had slightly more modest grades: Jesuit Catholic Schools Georgetown University in Washington, DC, Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, and Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles; Southern Methodist University in Dallas and Lebanon Valley College, a Methodist school in central Pennsylvania, all scored 4.
“These ten campuses are perfect examples of different faith-affiliated universities doing positive work for LGBTQ youth on their campuses,” according to a statement on the Campus Pride website, which said the goal was “d ‘encourage more faith-based institutions to do the same. “
Southern Methodist University debuted in the Campus Pride Index this year.
“It’s a campus in a very conservative neighborhood; there has been a lot of push for inclusion, ”said Windmeyer. “Shangela [from “RuPaul’s Drag Race”] went there, and the school does it an honor, I think. This is another example of a religious campus trying to differentiate itself from some of the more ultra-conservative schools.
SMU has its own group of LGBTQ students on campus, Spectrum; it includes gender identity and sexual orientation in its non-discrimination policies; and, according to its responses to the Campus Pride questionnaire, is actively working to recruit LGBTQ staff.
“We are honored to be recognized for the positive work our campus is doing to support our students, faculty and staff and deliver an inclusive campus experience,” said KC Mmeje, SMU Vice President of Student Affairs, to NBC News in an email. “We strive to be a welcoming community where ‘every Mustang is valued’, as our students say.”
Ms I said the university has dedicated resources to raising awareness, removing barriers and creating a supportive climate and space for everyone on campus.
“Although a Methodist in name,” he added, “SMU is non-sectarian in its teaching and committed to academic freedom and open inquiry.”
Scores are based on a self-administered 80-question survey covering a wide variety of issues, including non-discrimination policies, the presence of LGBTQ student organizations and course offerings, teacher training and campus policing, the availability of inclusive health care and counseling, and efforts to recruit and retain queer students and staff.
Another breakout list highlighted eight community colleges leading the way for LGBTQ inclusion, with a similar minimum requirement of 3.5.
The report comes just six months after a separate investigation found that LGBTQ Christian college students faced more bullying and harassment and were much more likely to experience isolation, depression and prejudice than their peers. heterosexual class.
This study was commissioned by the Religious Exemption Accountability Project, or REAP, which advocates for LGBTQ students at taxpayer-funded religious universities.
REAP found that more than one in 10 (12%) respondents said that school officials advised for counseling, suggested or commissioned conversion therapy, revoked their financial aid or scholarships, or took action. ” other punitive measures against them after learning of their sexual orientation or gender identity. .
REAP director Paul Southwick praised the religious schools on the Campus Pride list for “choosing love and respect over fear and shame”.
“Faith LGBTQ + youth need religious education institutions that embrace every part of them,” he said. We congratulate the religious colleges whose leadership has earned them a place on the Campus Pride list.
Many private Christian schools still receive federal funding in the form of scholarships and student financial assistance, while also claiming religious exemptions to LGBTQ anti-discrimination protections in education that were extended under the then President, Barack Obama.
While the Trump administration has maintained that sexual orientation and gender identity are not protected under Title IX, the Biden administration has reversed this policy.
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