By Steve Nakata, Student Affairs and Enrollment
Campus Pride, a nonprofit organization dedicated to making colleges and universities safer, more inclusive spaces for LGBT individuals, recently released its annual “Top 50 LGBT-Friendly Colleges & Universities” in the country. It is the second time WSU has been included.
“I am very proud of the work we have done as a campus and community to address the needs and concerns of our LGBT students at WSU,” said Heidi Stanton Schnebly, director of WSU’s Gender Identity Expression and Sexual Orientation Resource Center.
Campus Pride determined the listing by analyzing data gathered from a 50-question survey completed by each participating college or university. The survey asked about LGBT policy inclusion, support and institutional commitment, academic life, student life, housing, campus safety, counseling and health, and recruitment and retention efforts.
WSU scored a perfect five stars overall. Leading the way were maximum scores for LGBT support and institutional commitment, housing and residence life, campus safety, counseling, recruitment and retention. WSU also scored high for LGBT academic life, student life and counseling and health services.
Stanton Schnebly said being included in the Top 50 will help WSU attract new LGBT students.
“I know that parents are using Campus Pride rankings as a tool for searching for safe campuses for their LGBT students,” she said.
While she is proud of WSU’s accomplishments, she also said more work can be done – especially in the areas of transgender/trans-sexual and gender identity/expression.
“Our programming focus this year has shifted to take that into account and we are also researching potential ways to grow our program to support issues of men and masculinity,” she said. “We also want to incorporate Title IX concerns into how we do our work.”
WSU is one of seven universities from the Pacific Northwest in the Top 50. Others include Portland State University, Southern Oregon University, Oregon State University, University of Oregon, University of Washington and Central Washington University. WSU joins UW, UO, OSU, the University of Southern California, University of California at Berkeley and Los Angeles, and Stanford in representing the Pac-12 athletic conference on the list.
To view all schools in the Top 50, visit http://www.campuspride.org/campus-pride-releases-2014-top-50-lgbt-friendly-list-highlighting-the-best-of-the-best-colleges-universities/.
Heidi Stanton Schnebly, WSU Gender Identity Expression and Sexual Orientation Resource Center, 509-335-8841, email@example.com
Steve Nakata, WSU Student Affairs and Enrollment communications, 509-335-1774, firstname.lastname@example.org