North Dakota discretely signed into law on Monday a Senate bill that bans mandatory diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) training. Similarly, Kansas, Texas and Missouri have recently gone far enough to propose bills that block funding entirely on DEI initiatives, even though these offices are largely responsible for heading initiatives that support students of various genders.
In total, the American Civil Liberties Union is currently tracking 469 anti-LGBQ+ bills in the U.S. and 220 specifically focused on higher education.
As state legislation against diversity, equity and inclusion gain more traction across the United States, state officials in Missouri are concerned about how they might sway LGBTQ+ students from attending their public schools. Missouri’s bill targeting LGBTQ funding passed the House and is on the way to the Senate.
“I definitely identify with that concern,” said Zora Mulligan, Office of the President executive vice president, according to the Springfield News-Leader. “And I know that it’s something students are thinking about as they make decisions about where to attend college and where they think they will have the best experience.”
To help colleges retain this vital demographic of their students, BestAccredited Colleges has identified the nation’s most accepting institutions of LGBTQ+ students, which can guide other schools to take similar measures. After all, LQBTQ+ students contribute to the 7.1% of LGBTQ+ Americans in the country.
Top 10 most LGBTQ-friendly colleges
BestAccredited Colleges created their rankings based on these traits and opportunities:
- Campus Clubs: Spaces for these students to mingle with others and find their network/support
- LGBTQ+ Housing: Housing exclusively for LGBTQ+ students
- LGBTQ+ Campus Safety: Well-defined procedures that outline how to deal with harassment of LGBTQ+ students. Similarly, policies that promote inclusiveness and govern how this subset of students should be treated.
- LGBTQ+ Counseling: Counselors with specialized training for dealing with the specific challenges this subset of students face
- LGBTQ+ Scholarships:
- National LGBTQ+ Organizations: These aren’t affiliated with any particular school, but is readily available and promoted on campus.
#1 University of Michigan – Ann Arbor
Known for: The Spectrum Center, which is known as the hub of the LGBTQ+ experience. It’s resources range from academic tutoring, to mentoring, to crisis intervention.
#2 Ithaca College
Known for: LQBTQ+-specific course offerings and an advisory committee dedicated to LGBTQ+ issues on campus.
#3 University of Kentucky
Known for: Admission officers and counselors with LGBTQ+-specific training, as well as campus police liaisons.
#4 University of Massachusetts – Amherst
Known for: The Queer-e newspaper with over 2,000 readers, as well as a first-year mentorship program.
#5 DePauw University
Known for: Trans sport teams and an on-campus Rainbow-Community that provides living and networking spaces
#6 Indiana University – Bloomington
Known for: Special scholarships and a network of LGBTQ+-friendly employers, as well as a solid base of non-discrimination policies.
#7 Kansas State University
Known for: Plethora of student organizations, such as the Kansas State University Sexuality and Gender Alliance (SAGA), Out in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (oSTEM), and the Gender Collective.
#8 University of New Hampshire
Known for: Queer and gender studies, along with specialized student clubs and gender-inclusive housing.
#9 Kent State University at Kent
Known for: An LGBTQ+ emergency fund for financially disadvantaged students.
#10 University of Arizona
Known for: SafeZone, a community-wide training program. They also offer a fraternity for gay, bisexual, and allied men called Delta Lambda Phi.