Thirty campuses across the country have been chosen this year for the 2021 Best of the Best LGBTQ-Friendly Colleges & Universities List. That roster includes two Ohio institutions of higher education.
The list was compiled by Campus Pride, the leading national nonprofit organization for student leaders and campus groups working to create a safer college environment for LGBTQ+ students.
Campuses were ranked based on the Campus Pride Index—a national benchmarking tool of 435+ campuses—and specific LGBTQ-inclusive measures. In order to be in the “Best of the Best” listing, an institution had to score the highest percentages in the LGBTQ-friendly benchmarks for policies, programs, and practices.
“LGBTQ youth and families want to know what campuses are doing when it comes to inclusive policies, programs and practices. The ‘Best of the Best’ highlights the Top 30 this year across six regions throughout the country,’” said Shane Windmeyer, executive director of Campus Pride. “Campus Pride applauds the growing number of campuses that are ‘coming out’ and wanting to be the ‘Best of the Best’ each year.”
For the Best of the Best universities selected for the Midwest Region, Kenyon College and Kent State University made the esteemed list, with both institutions scoring a 5 out of 5 on the Campus Pride Index.
The two schools represent vastly different environments, with Kenyon’s rural setting for under 2,000 undergraduate students contrasting sharply with Kent State’s suburban locale for over 25,000 students at the main campus alone.
“We’re so excited to be recognized as one of Campus Pride’s “Best of the Best” LGBTQ+ friendly colleges across the country,” said Dr. Timothy Bussey, Associate Director for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Kenyon. “We’re also honored to share this recognition with Kent State University.”
While proud of the recognition, Bussey was quick to highlight that the work of LGBTQ+ equity is ongoing.
“While we certainly celebrate this achievement, we’re also excited to continue working towards a more inclusive and equitable campus community for our LGBTQ+ students, faculty, and staff,” said Bussey. “And of course, we’re excited to continue growing our work across campus and beyond throughout this academic year.”
Over at Kent State, the pride was equally felt.
“I’m super proud that Kent State is included in this list!” said Ken Ditlevson, Director of Kent’s LGBTQ+ Center. “We are proud of the progress we are making but it’s awesome to see it publicly recognized. Although the Team at the KSU LGBTQ+ Center is modest in number—having only 2 staff, a graduate student and 8 student interns—our efforts and commitment are great. Our team intentionally collaborates across the university and in the community to make our impact as broad as possible. I’m thankful for our team’s contributions, as well as all of those from across the university that made this all possible.”
Numerous other Ohio Colleges have received a high ranking the Campus Pride Index, including The Ohio State University (5 stars), Case Western Reserve University (4 ½ stars), University of Cincinnati (4 ½ stars), and Oberlin College (4 ½ stars).
Baldwin Wallace University, Cleveland State University, Miami University, College of Wooster, Denison University, and Wright State University all received 4 stars. 🔥