Dr. Jillian T. Weiss

Princeton Review Releases List of LGBT Friendly Colleges, And Not

Filed By Dr. Jillian T. Weiss | August 04, 2011 12:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: 376 Best Colleges, LGBT-friendly colleges, Princeton Review

WheatonCollege.jpgThe Princeton Review's 62 college rankings are "top 20" lists entirely based on the company's survey of over 120,000 students attending the 376 colleges in its book, The Best 376 Colleges. One of the questions in the survey is "Is there very little discrimination against homosexuals?" There's a top 20 list and a bottom 20 list.

I suppose that discrimination against "homosexuals" also includes bisexual and transgender students, but Princeton Review ought to note that the term "homosexual," a nineteenth century medical term for abnormality, is not very hip with the LGBT community.

The top school is New York University, the worst school is Wheaton College, Wheaton Illinois (not to be confused with the LGBT-friendly Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts).

Huffington Post reports that Wheaton, a religious Christian school in Chicago's west suburbs, has for the second time in three years ranked as the least LGBT-friendly college in the nation. HuffPo also says that in May, some 400 gay, lesbian and supportive alumni of the Christian school signed onto an open letter, which OneWheaton organized, addressed to the student body urging them to resist "feeling alienated, ashamed and afraid" despite the campus's reputation as not being particularly open when it comes to LGBT issues. The letter was issued in response to the school sponsoring a speaker who encouraged those who "experience same-sex attraction" to choose a life of celibacy instead.

My biggest surprises: Providence College, Providence, Rhode Island, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI and Fairfield University, Fairfield, CT, all on the bottom 20 list.

Least surprising: University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY, on the bottom 20 list.


The Top 20

Here's the top 20 list in response to the question "Is there very little discrimination against homosexuals?"

New York University
New York, NY

Stanford University
Stanford, CA

Emerson College
Boston, MA

Wellesley College
Wellesley, MA

Bennington College
Bennington, VT

University of Wisconsin--Madison

Macalester College
St. Paul, MN

New College of Florida

Prescott College
Prescott, AZ

Sarah Lawrence College
Bronxville, NY

Bryn Mawr College
Bryn Mawr, PA

Grinnell College
Grinnell, IA

St. John's College (MD)

Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering
Needham, MA

Smith College
Northampton, MA

Hampshire College
Amherst, MA

Swarthmore College
Swarthmore, PA

Boston University
Boston, MA

Mount Holyoke College
South Hadley, MA

Bard College at Simon's Rock
Great Barrington, MA

The Bottom 20

Here's the bottom 20 list in response to the question "Is there very little discrimination against homosexuals?"

Wheaton College (IL)

Grove City College
Grove City, PA

Brigham Young University (UT)

Hampden-Sydney College
Hampden-Sydney, VA

College of the Ozarks
Point Lookout, MO

University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, IN

Thomas Aquinas College
Santa Paula, CA

Boston College
Chestnut Hill, MA

University of Dallas
Irving, TX

Texas A&M University--College Station

Providence College
Providence, RI

Southern Methodist University
Dallas, TX

Samford University
Birmingham, AL

University of Rhode Island
Kingston, RI

Catholic University of America
Washington, DC

Calvin College
Grand Rapids, MI

Pepperdine University
Malibu, CA

University of Wyoming
Laramie, WY

University of Kentucky
Lexington, KY

Fairfield University
Fairfield, CT

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I'm kind of shocked that IU-Bloomington isn't in the top 20.

Nick, I'm a graduate of IU-B and I've exchanged emails with the folks there at IU-B's GLBT Student Support Services office (Doug Bauder, Office Coordinator and Carol Fischer, Office Manager, www.indiana.edu/~glbt) and, despite the great effort they have made there and generally open-minded faculty at IU, there are still questions on survey that cause IU-B to get no higher than 3.5 to 3.8 on a 5-point scale. The questions have to do mostly with the rural location of the campus, the fact that there is a large right-wing student population, especially among the frats and sororities, and certain funding issues I won't go into online. (Hint: The GLBTSSS office is funded largely by private donation money so that conservative Hoosiers who make big deal out of "Why is my tax money being used to promote homosexuality?" can be answered with all truthfulness, "Chill out! It isn't!" To be honest, even I don't know all the details, and I gather that's good.) But suffice it to say, there are questions on survey that cause IU-B to rate lower because the pro-GLBT programs don't receive university funds directly. It is very wise for administration to work things this way due to the changeable political climate of Indiana, a potentially very "Red" state when the political winds blow in that direction.

I can also add that Bloomington community still occasionally experiences waves of hate speech (mostly flyers under car windshields from skinhead groups and similar right-oriented wingnuts), and that, because of Indiana law, the HRO in Bloomington does not have the force of law for protected categories that are not included in the corresponding state law, and this weakens the status of the "sexual orientation and/or affectional preference" and "gender Identity" categories named in the Bloomington HRO. All Indiana cities, including Indianapolis, have this legal problem until the state law is changed. Indy folks saw this legal fine point play a factor in the unfolding of the recent "Cupcake-gate" controversy not so long ago.

So, in a word, IU-Bloomington has certain political and community factors working against it, that are largely beyond the control of the many inclusive and well-minded folks there.

Very proud to see my alma mater (Hampshire College) on the list, along with its fellow Five College schools, Smith and Mt. Holyoke.

I taught two workshops for the 5 College Queer Gender & Sexuality Conference last year, which was held at Hampshire. I was just blown away by how supportive the school, and really the 5 College System seemed to be, particularly of trans and gender non-conforming students. It was what I expected, but they exceeded even what I could have hoped for.

Kathy Padilla | August 4, 2011 12:28 PM

Jill - I think you may have confused Wesleyan University for Wellesley College above.

"Wellesley College (Though I do wonder what they're teaching over there.)
Wellesley, MA"

So basically, if you want a 'top 20' accepting school, you either have to be massively wealthy or pretty much be in debt for the rest of your life. I think it would be nice if they would come up with a list of 'Top 20 vaguely affordable welcoming schools' because most queer/trans students don't have a chance in hell of paying those ones on the list... and PELL grants are almost certainly on the chopping block.

This is an excellent point, and I would love to see that list myself.

I will say that to my knowledge UMASS Amherst is very LGBT accepting school and students there can take classes and attend student functions at the other Five colleges, including the three on the Top 20 list. My cousin is a student there as well as an out lesbian, and she has a number of trans friends who've done well there too.

I take serious issue with your assumption that just because these schools have high price tags you either have to be rich or incur massive debt. I went to a school on this list and I have virtually no debt from undergrad. The school had a need-based financial system and I didn't pay a cent towards my tuition in the four years I spent there, just a few loans for room & board. Though I don't have personal experiences with the other nineteen schools on the top 20 list, my understanding is that need-based systems are fairly common at all of them.

So basically, if you want a 'top 20' accepting school, you either have to be massively wealthy or pretty much be in debt for the rest of your life. I think it would be nice if they would come up with a list of 'Top 20 vaguely affordable welcoming schools' because most queer/trans students don't have a chance in hell of paying those ones on the list... and PELL grants are almost certainly on the chopping block.

Hi Jill, why would you be surprised by Fairfield University being in the bottom 20? It's a Roman Catholic institution. I realize that it's run by Jesuits, and there are a few Jesuit institutions that are not all that bad (Fordham being one), and there is at least one Catholic college on the Top 20 list. (There are a lot of Catholic universities that are not "Saint" something-or-other. Sometimes people are surprised to learn that Pace University is Catholic, and College of New Rochelle, too, an for that matter, New York Medical College.

How is Xavier not in the Top 20? I remember fencing their team and their team patch was an inverted rainbow triangle and their fencing leggings were rainbow. Apparently they had officially unofficially changed the logo for the school because everyone there is queer! I was a little jealous.

"I suppose that discrimination against "homosexuals" also includes bisexual and transgender students..."

Since Mount Holyoke and Smith are on the list ad they don't accept applicant who are trans women in their woman-only halls of learning - that would not be a safe assumption to make. Once again, what is good for LG folks is not applicable for Trans women (in this case it is perfectly applicable for trans men and FAAB GQs).

They don't accept trans women? Wow. I'd like to follow up on that. You have any sources handy, laughrioTgirl?

http://www.insidehighered.com/news/focus/diversity/recent/new_mount_holyoke_degree_prompts_examination_of_women_s_college_transgender_policies

"Women's colleges are, in my opinion, attempting to figure out how to support trans men, but there are more barriers to trans women who would like to attend their institutions," Catalano, a trans male who has worked on these issues with Mount Holyoke and Smith,"

Among others.

"Least surprising: University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY, on the bottom 20 list."

I beg to kindly differ, Dr. Jillian -- the no-brainer on the Bottom-20 list is Brigham-Young. But it doesn't matter, just sayin'.

I'm surprised that neither Brown nor Yale are on the top 20 list. Both are notoriously gay-friendly; Yale's even called "The Gay Ivy."