AMHERST, Mass. – The University of Massachusetts Amherst is among the top 30 colleges and universities in the country for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning (LGBTQ) students as ranked by Campus Pride, a national support and advocacy organization.
The listing, released today, highlights the “most LGBTQ-inclusive colleges and universities when it comes to policy, program and practice in higher education,” according to Campus Pride, which based its top 30 “best of the best” list on institutional responses to the Campus Pride Index, a national benchmarking tool.
UMass Amherst is one of 15 schools that earned the highest rating of five stars.
“That we continue to have the highest ranking reflects the work that continues to be done on campus to address the needs of LGBTQ students, especially to support trans students. We have progress still to make, but it is very gratifying to have the work we have done be recognized,” says Genny Beemyn, director of the Stonewall Center at the Amherst campus.
The Campus Pride Index is based in research on policy, program and practice and is conducted for and by LGBTQ experts in the field of higher education. Each campus updates its index annually and uses the benchmarking tool to make improvements for LGBTQ life on campus.
“Prospective students and their families today expect colleges to be LGBTQ-friendly. They want to know what LGBTQ programs, services and resources are available on the campus—and which are the ‘best of the best,’” said Shane Windmeyer, executive director of Campus Pride and creator of the Campus Pride Index. “Therefore, we have updated our Campus Pride Index assessment to reflect that, with higher standards for campuses and a higher focus on trans and gender nonconforming students.”
UMass Amherst established one of the nation’s first professionally staffed LGBT campus centers when it opened the Stonewall Center in 1985, and the school created the first residence hall program for LGBT and allied students in 1992. UMass Amherst is also part of the Five College consortium, which offers a certificate in queer and sexuality studies.