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Kent State has gained national attention for the second year in a row as one of the “Best of the Best” LGBTQ-friendly universities according to Campus Pride.

Campus Pride is a non-profit organization that has focused on building safer and more inclusive LGBTQ-friendly colleges and universities for 20 years. 

The Campus Pride Index is their resource to help prospective college students and their families find the best LGBTQ-friendly universities in the nation.

Ratings are based on a five-star scale and use factors like policy changes, counseling services and more to determine a university's score. 

Kent State’s 5-star rating comes following years of advocacy. Starting with a Campus Pride Index score of 3.5 in 2014, the LGBTQ Student Center has made consistent efforts towards the scores’ improvement. 

Advocating for changes in policy are what gave Kent an advantage in the scoring process, said Ken Ditlevson, director of the LGBTQ Student Center. 

“Efforts for policy change involving gender-inclusive bathrooms and preferred names started to move the needle on our score,” Ditlevson said. “Showing commitment as an institution to changes that are long lasting is an important part of the work.”  

Despite the university's high rating, Ditlevson is still working toward improving LGBTQ support across campus.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do around serving our trans and non-binary communities, asexual communities, and more,” Ditlevson said. “Creating support systems for marginalized LGBTQ groups and raising visibility for these students is an important next step in our advocacy.” 

Serena Shortridge covers diversity. Contact her at sshortr1@kent.edu.

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