This is how LGBTQ inclusivity rankings work

Campus Pride Index, previously covered by Campus Reform, evaluates colleges and universities for 'LGBTQ-friendly learning environments.'

To obtain a membership with CPI, school administrators first take a self-assessment to determine how LGBTQ-friendly they are based on eight factors.

The Campus Pride Index (CPI), previously covered by Campus Reform, evaluates colleges and universities for “LGBTQ-friendly learning environments.” A college is considered “LGBTQ-friendly” if it is “an environment that is more inclusive, welcoming, and respectful for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning people.”

Campus Pride ranks schools from one to five stars based on how supportive they are of LGBTQ-related issues. It also lists a $225 membership fee on its website. 

To obtain a membership with CPI, school administrators first take a self-assessment to determine how LGBTQ-friendly they are based on eight factors. 

These factors are “LGBTQ Policy Inclusion,” “LGBTQ Support & Institutional Commitment,” “LGBTQ Academic Life,” “LGBTQ Student Life,” “LGBTQ Housing,” “LGBTQ Campus Safety,” “LGBTQ Counseling & Health,” and “LGBTQ Recruitment & Retention Efforts.”

When the self-assessment is completed, CPI sends a report to the school  ”with results and recommendations” based on their answers. 

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Universities are then able to have a profile on the website, which includes their star-based ratings in each of the eight factors, and a “report card” showing whether they do or do not provide certain LGBTQ-related services, such as having a “resource center/office with responsibilities for LGBTQ students” and an ”[a]lly program or Safe Space/Safe Zone.”

Campus Reform found that several of the universities that achieved the maximum rating on the Index recently raised tuition and spent funds on LGBTQ programming.

Campus Pride Executive Director Shane Windmeyer told Campus Reform earlier this year that the Index is an “education tool out there that helps campuses improve their LGBTQ campus policies, programs, and practices as well as shares with parents, family, young people, like, which campuses have what, you know, policies in place and so forth.”

After completing the assessment, campus officials can choose whether or not they want to make the results publicly available. 

The organization also tries to address any potential offense given by their use of the term ‘LGBTQ’ instead of the broader ‘LGBTQ+’, writing that “[w]e recognize the fact that there are members of our community who identify outside of these terms (i.e. same-gender loving, two-spirit people, etc.).”

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The five institutions ranked as being most LGBTQ-friendly are Kansas State University, Rutgers University-New Brunswick (New Jersey), Ithaca College (New York), Southern Illinois University (SIU) Carbondale, and the University of Washington.

Dr. Paul Frazier, Vice Chancellor for Anti-Racism, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at SIU Carbondale, told Campus Reform that “[d]iversity, equity and inclusion form a pillar of our Imagine 2030 strategic plan. Our ranking by Campus Pride demonstrates that we are a welcoming campus to all, including LGBTQ+ people, and we are very proud of this recognition.”

Campus Pride’s website notes, however, that “lower star scores may still be viewed as progressive based on the campus or region of the country.”

A number of Christian colleges also receive high marks from the index. Guilford College (North Carolina), Virginia Wesleyan University, and Augsburg University (Minnesota) all received five stars.

Virginia Wesleyan University is an inclusive community, accepting of all, and the Campus Pride Index is one of many indicators of our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion”, Virginia Wesleyan wrote to Campus Reform in a statement. 

Campus Reform contacted these institutions mentioned; this article will be updated accordingly.