University of Utah named as top 25 LGBT-friendly school

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 21 2012 4:55 p.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — The University of Utah was named Tuesday as one of the country's top 25 friendly schools for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students.

The rankings were announced by the Huffington Post in partnership with Campus Pride, using information from an index that rates colleges and universities based on LGBT-friendly policies, programs and practices.

“Praise and accolades are deserved for these top 25 colleges and universities," Campus Pride executive director Shane Windmeyer said in a prepared statement. "Every student deserves to feel safe on campus, and all of these colleges are committed to creating a more LGBT-friendly campus.”

The U. received high or perfect ratings in every category, which ranged from campus safety to student life and retention efforts. Tuesday's rankings mark the first year the university has been included in the top 25.

"It's great news," said Kai Martinez, director of the LGBT Resource Center at the U. "It really shows how committed the university is to students' needs on campus."

Martinez said the ranking is a reflection of a campus-wide effort to respond to student concerns and create a welcoming atmosphere for all students, regardless of sexual orientation.

The university received its lowest rating, a 3.5 out of 5 stars, in the housing and residence life category, which Martinez said is likely because there is no designated gender-neutral housing on campus.

"Housing does what they can to accommodate LGBT students," Martinez said.

The Campus Pride rankings are based on questionnaires submitted by students, faculty and staff at U.S. colleges and universities.

Benjamin Wood

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