AMHERST, Mass. – The University of Massachusetts Amherst has again been recognized as one of the top 40 campuses in the country for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) students by Campus Pride, a national LGBTQ youth support and advocacy organization.
The announcement features 40 campuses from six regions of the country who are deeply committed to LGBTQ students and who rate the highest for LGBTQ-inclusion in policy, program and practice. The full listing may be found online: CampusPride.org/2020BESTOFTHEBEST. Regionally, UMass Amherst is one of just four New England colleges recognized, along with Tufts, the University of Vermont and MIT.
"We are honored that UMass was recognized for a 10th consecutive year as a top LGBTQIA+-inclusive college,” said Genny Beemyn, director of the UMass Amherst Stonewall Center. “It reflects the tremendous work being done by the Stonewall Center and many other offices on campus to support LGBTQIA+ students."
This year Campus Pride chose to put a spotlight on the regional diversity of the list by highlighting colleges and universities by region. “Today college campuses must ‘come out’ and be visible as LGBTQ-friendly. Students expect inclusive, equitable learning environments at colleges in all regions of the country. And as a basic standard, they demand campuses have LGBTQ-inclusive policies, programs and services,” said Shane Windmeyer, Executive Director, Campus Pride. “These 40 campuses, across six diverse regions, are leading the charge.”
Top institutions were selected from more than 400 colleges and universities ranked as part of the Campus Pride Index, a national benchmarking tool that self-assesses LGBTQ-friendly policies, institutional support and commitment, academic programs, student life and safety. UMass Amherst earned a perfect five-star rating.
The university is one of only a few colleges in the country that gives faculty, staff and students the ability to indicate their pronouns on their university record. In addition, students' pronouns at UMass appear in various administrative systems and in People Finder; almost all of the other colleges that enable students to indicate their pronouns (about 50 institutions) have it limited to course rosters.
UMass Amherst also offers the ability for trans students to change their name and gender on records and provides gender-inclusive housing. The campus has more than 150 gender-inclusive restrooms and a trans-inclusive athletic policy. Transitioning students can have their mental health counseling, hormone replacement therapy, and gender-affirming surgeries covered under the student Health Benefit Plan (SHBP).
UMass Amherst established one of the nation’s first professionally staffed LGBTQ campus centers when it opened the Stonewall Center in 1985, and the school created the first residence hall program for LGBTQ and allied students in 1992.