UMass Amherst has been recognized as one of the 20 best campuses for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students and will be included in The Advocate College Guide for LGBT Students, the first comprehensive guide to the most LGBT-friendly campuses in the United States.
The campus''s long history of supporting LGBT students, including having one of the country’s first professionally staffed LGBT campus centers and the first residence hall floor for LGBT and allied students, contributed to the distinction.
“We are extremely honored that UMass Amherst was found to be among the country’s most LGBT-friendly campuses,” states Brett Genny Beemyn, director of the Stonewall Center, the LGBT center at the college. “Many people have worked hard to make UMass Amherst a place that is welcoming to LGBT students. While we need to continue to do more, it is gratifying to be acknowledged for the tremendous progress achieved so far.”
The book, which is being published today, profiles 100 colleges and universities from across the U.S. that create a positive living and learning environment for LGBT students. Campus PrideNet, a national organization for LGBT and ally student leaders, with support from leading LGBT professionals from the National Consortium of Directors of LGBT Resources in Higher Education, developed the criteria to rate institutions and circulated a nomination form and questionnaire for LGBT students, faculty, and staff to state why their schools should be included in the guide.
In the end, 680 campuses were nominated by more than 5,500 people. The 20 best were selected based on how the colleges and universities addressed the needs of LGBT students in institutional policies, commitment and support, academic life, housing, student life, counseling and health services, campus safety, and recruitment and retention efforts.
“UMass Amherst and the other top colleges and universities profiled in The Advocate College Guide for LGBT Students lead the way for the rest of higher education to be LGBT-friendly. These campuses take to heart the value of supporting all students,” says Shane Windmeyer, executive director of Campus PrideNet and author of the guide.