AMHERST, Mass. – The University of Massachusetts Amherst has been recognized as one of the best 50 campuses in the country for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students by Campus Pride, a support and advocacy organization for LGBT college students.
The listing, which was released today, “highlights the positive efforts to improve safety and academic life for LGBT students as well as the top institutions leading the way,” according to Campus Pride.
“Being listed as one of the most LGBT-supportive schools for a fourth year in a row is a testament to the progress UMass Amherst continues to make on LGBT inclusion,” said Genny Beemyn, director of the Stonewall Center at the Amherst campus. “For example, this past year, the Stonewall Center worked with other UMass departments to implement a simple process for students to change their gender marker on campus records and their name on campus ID cards, and this fall is beginning a peer mentoring program for incoming LGBT students.”
This is the first year Campus Pride has released a 50 “Best of the Best” list. The list is based on responses to the Campus Pride Index, a national benchmarking tool that assesses LGBT-friendly policies, programs and practices. UMass Amherst is one of 56 schools to earn the top five-star rating on the index.
“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,” said Shane Windmeyer, executive director of Campus Pride and the creator of the Campus Pride Index. “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 5 stars overall rating, the largest number to date.”
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.