Campus Pride—a leading national nonprofit organization for student leaders and campus organizations working to create safer, friendlier lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender environments on campuses—recently launched the LGBT–Friendly Campus Climate Index. Case Western Reserve University has received three out of five stars on the index, earning a place on the Honor Roll.
Academic life, student life, policies and practice, housing and residence life, and counseling and health services are just a few of the criteria measured for the new index. The university was cited for expressly using the words sexual orientation, transgender, transsexual and/or gender identity/expression in its nondiscriminatory statement and Equal Employment Opportunity policy, which are in print materials and posted online.
According to Campus Pride, nearly 100 public and private four–year campuses are currently listed online, and almost double are signed up to finish the online assessment in the near future. In development since 2001, the LGBT–Friendly Campus Climate Index is in response to the increasing demand for tools and resources to support campuses in assessing LGBT–Friendly programs, policies and practices.
"We're very proud to make the Honor Roll," said Lynn Singer, deputy provost and vice president for academic programs at the university. "We've had an LGBT committee for three years, and we've actually used the index to help us look at where we are lacking, and we're addressing those issues one by one. Hopefully, we'll get a perfect score in a couple of years."
In 2004, the university formed an ad hoc committee to help shape the campus environment as a welcoming community for all people including persons who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. In addition to the updated and inclusive language in university policies, an LGBT Web site was developed and is devoted to providing information, health, educational and social programs and resources for and about LGBT persons.
Campus Pride began the online resource to assist colleges and universities in learning ways to improve their LGBT campus life, and to help form the educational experience to be more inclusive, welcoming and respectful of LGBT people. "By highlighting positive LGBT efforts, we can advocate more effectively for LGBT and ally progress for all campus communities," said Shane Windmeyer, executive director of Campus Pride and author of The Advocate College Guide for LGBT Students that profiled the "100 Best LGBT–Friendly Campuses."
The index not only helps universities improve campus environments; it also helps students in search of LGBT–friendly institutions. "What's truly revolutionary is that you can now go online and search campuses committed to creating a safe learning environment for LGBT and ally people," said Windmeyer. "Prospective LGBT and ally students and their families also have a reliable, free public resource to go and find more information for college."
"Case Western Reserve University's position on the Honor Roll is well deserved and hard earned. In just four years, I have seen Case improve remarkably as an LGBT–friendly environment," said Rob Kinsey, a recent Case graduate who now works for the university.
"With the creation of the Safe Zone ally program and the inclusion of gender identity/expression in the campus nondiscrimination policy, Case has made great strides. More first–year students are coming to Case 'out of the closet,' more students are coming out while at Case, and there is a general feeling of inclusiveness around campus," said Kinsey, who was co–president of the student group Spectrum during the 2006–07 academic year.
An ongoing committee now meets regularly to discuss LGBT issues on campus. Visit the university's LGBT Resources and Information Web site to learn more.For more information, contact Kimyette Finley 216-368-0521.
Case Western Reserve University is committed to the free exchange of ideas, reasoned debate and intellectual dialogue. Speakers and scholars with a diversity of opinions and perspectives are invited to the campus to provide the community with important points of view, some of which may be deemed controversial. The views and opinions of those invited to speak on the campus do not necessarily reflect the views of the university administration or any other segment of the university community.