1 New York College Named Among Most LGBTQ-Friendly

A new report has named the 25 most LGBTQ-friendly colleges in the country, and one of them is right here in New York. The college ratings site College Consensus released its rankings Monday. In New York, Ithaca College was named among the nation’s best. 

The site selected the best LGBTQ schools based on several factors: the strength of their student groups, inclusiveness policies and recognition by the campus pride index, a benchmarking tool to help colleges and universities create safer and more inclusive campuses.

Here’s what they had to say about Ithaca College, which ranked No. 9:

“Ithaca College’s campus pride can been seen by their addition of the LGBT Education, Outreach and Services center. Their mission is to foster personal and academic growth for those students who identify, and those who are exploring their gender identity. Ithaca College’s LGBT center was established in 2001 and continues to provide a supportive and welcoming environment for LGBT students and their allies. Ithaca College has set up all-gender restrooms across the campus. Policies and locations are drafted and organized into one Ithaca College Statement.”

The colleges on the list spanned 16 states. Notable winners included Harvey Mudd College in California, Pennsylvania State University, Princeton University and Rutgers University in New Jersey, Ohio State University and University of Maryland.

Here are the top 10:

  1. Princeton University, NJ
  2. Harvey Mudd College, CA
  3. University of Pennsylvania, PA
  4. Macalester College, MN
  5. Elon University, NC
  6. Tufts University, MA
  7. Lehigh university, PA
  8. University of Washington, WA
  9. Ithaca College, NY
  10. Ohio State University, OH

“LGBT friendly colleges are critical for the safety and well-being of gay, lesbian, trans and nonconforming young people all over the nation,” the authors noted.

The site’s editors noted in a release that colleges and universities have been at the “vanguard of culture” for decades. Historically, that has included protecting artistic expression and giving young people a forum to voice their political views. However, for LGBTQ students, inclusive policies “can truly be a matter of life or death,” particularly given that discrimination and hate crimes are still prevalent in many areas.

“LGBTQ friendly colleges are critical for the safety and well-being of gay, lesbian, trans and nonconforming young people all over the nation,” the editors said, providing “a safe space for queer young people, while helping prepare them for a workforce that is still frequently hostile.”

The site acknowledged ranking the most LGBTQ-friendly colleges is somewhat subjective, but stressed it was done with care. An outspoken — and well-promoted — campus pride organization is a “clear sign” of acceptance in the campus community, the authors said.

Another indicator is in official institutional policy. This includes things like “inclusive language” in the student handbook, gender-inclusive or gender-neutral housing and clearly stated anti-discrimination policies.

“In other words, inclusiveness is a grab-bag, based on choices that colleges make based on their own needs and student population,” the authors said. “Policies or organizations that work for one college may not work for another, so defining LGBT friendly colleges means sorting through and analyzing. It’s a little objective and a little subjective, and always open for debate.”

College Consensus says it combines the latest college ranking systems with student review scores.

Patch national staffer Dan Hampton contributed to this report.

This article originally appeared on https://patch.com/new-york/midhudsonvalley/1-new-york-college-named-among-most-lgbtq-friendly