Kent State has been named one of the most LGBTQ+ friendly campuses in the nation, according to Campus Pride, a national nonprofit organization.
To evaluate colleges on how LGBTQ+ friendly they are, Campus Pride uses an index which “sets the bar higher for LGBTQ-inclusive policies, programs and practices,” according to its website. It began in 2001.
The Campus Pride Index breaks down the score into two main categories: sexual orientation and gender identity.
It also has eight different areas, which include policy inclusion, support and institutional commitment, academic life, student life, housing and residence life, campus safety, counselling and health and recruitment and retention efforts.
“(Kent State) actually scored five out of five stars,” said Shane Windmeyer, the founder of Campus Pride and creator of the Campus Pride Index, “which puts them in that 90th percentile when it comes to their policies, programs and practices.”
Kent State was one of three Ohio schools to receive five stars. The other two are The Ohio State University and Kenyon College.
Some of the biggest points highlighted in Kent State’s rating are its events and organizations such as the Lavender Graduation, the Rainbow Run and the LGBTQ+ Student Center on campus.
While Kent State has hit the benchmark for most of the Campus Pride Index categories, there is still some work to be done, Windmeyer said.
“So under policy inclusion, what we’re talking about are things as simple as, do your students have an option to self-identify their sexual orientation on admissions application or post enrollment forms?” Windmeyer said. “Kent State actually doesn’t do that.”
It is important to keep in mind the index only accounts for campus policies, procedures and practices, Windmeyer said.
“The students on your campus or any campus for that matter may feel that their campus isn’t as safe as they want it to be,” Windmeyer said. “So we’re always telling campuses that we don’t measure the perception of your students, because ultimately at the end of the day, all we can measure is your policy, program and practice.”
LGBTQ+ students at Kent State generally feel included in the programs and organizations Kent has to offer, said Angela Molina, the President of PRIDE! Kent and a second-year graduate student earning her master’s in public administration.
“I think there’s always been a strong LGBTQ+ presence, especially advocacy presence on campus,” Molina said. “We also have the LGBTQ+ Center, which has done amazing work. The staff there are phenomenal. I think Kent State does more work than the average campus to accommodate and include their LGBTQ+ students with advocacy, support groups and the community building.”
Bella Hagey is a diversity reporter. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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