Annual ranking includes 50 schools that are leaders in LGBT-inclusive policies, programs and practices
By on August 15, 2014
UC Riverside was recognized as one of the top-50 schools for LGBT students by Campus Pride.
RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Campus Pride, the leading national organization for LGBT student leaders and campus groups, has included the University of California, Riverside on its annual survey of the nation’s Top-50 LGBT-Friendly Colleges and Universities.
“UCR has worked hard to create policies and resources that make our campus LGBT-inclusive,” says Nancy Tubbs, director of the LGBT Resource Center. “But really it come down to our students, faculty, staff and alumni building community.”
Tammie Tran, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience in 2014, said she noticed visible support from across the campus community.
“There are numerous staff and faculty proudly displaying Ally placards indicating that they have been educated in LGBT issues,” Tran said. “Queer youth need to know that if they are looking for a safe environment to be themselves and to gain a world class education, UCR is the university they have been searching for.”
Tubbs added that this community-building begins before the academic year even starts, during Highlander Orientation.
“Over 4,000 new students attended the Building Our Common Ground activity, and so many Highlanders moved forward to share they have close friends and family who are LGBTQ, or that they, themselves, are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer. UCR celebrates our diversity, including sexuality and gender identity,” Tubbs said.
Senior women’s studies major Lex Soto wasn’t surprised by UCR’s inclusion on the list.
“UC Riverside has been the most welcoming and comfortable place for me to grow as an LGBT identified student,” Soto said. “Since I have been at the University of California, Riverside I feel like I have had the freedom to grow more into my identity and the encouragement to be myself.”
The 2014 list marks the first time that Campus Pride has included 50 schools. UCR has previously appeared on the list when it contained just 25.
“For six years in a row, Campus Pride has seen an increase in the number of campuses coming out as LGBT-friendly and making notable improvements to LGBT academic life, so we decided to honor 50 campuses with our national distinction,” Shane Windmeyer, executive director of Campus Pride, said in a statement. “Today the Campus Pride Index has over 425 campuses featured online and for the first time ever we have 56 campuses who achieved the highest five stars overall rating, the largest number to date.”
To be listed among the top-50, a college had to achieve five stars overall as well as have the highest percentages across the eight LGBT-friendly benchmarks for policy, program and practice, which include:
LGBT Policy Inclusion
LGBT Support & Institutional Commitment
LGBT Academic Life
LGBT Student Life
LGBT Campus Safety
LGBT Counseling & Health
LGBT Recruitment and Retention Efforts
UC Riverside has long been a leader in LGBT-inclusive policies, programs and practices. These include the LGBIT Studies Minor, Stonewall Hall & Gender Inclusive Housing, transgender-inclusive health care, and the Kalyn Smith-Tranquil’son Memorial Fund, which assists students who lose family support because of their involvement in the LGBT community.
The campus annually hosts regular LGBT educational programming, conferences and events. In recent months, these have included an evening with transgender actress Laverne Cox of the acclaimed series Orange is the New Black, a lecture by Aaron Gardner of the Riverside County Department of Public Health on “LGBT Health and Wellness Profile: A Review of the Health of LGBT Residents Living in Riverside,” and the well-attended Tabla and BlaqOUT conferences.
“UCR students are getting exposed to all the sides of the LGBTIQ spectrum and I feel this contributes to students being more accepting of UCR LGBTIQ students,” explained Jorge Delos Santos, a senior women’s studies and anthropology major who co-hosted a workshop on issues facing undocumented queer students. “UCR has become a safe place where any student who identifies as LGBTIQ can talk about issues that affect them and know they have the support of UCR faculty and staff.”