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KSU Ranks High in Inclusion

KSAL Staff - August 31, 2017 8:48 am

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Kansas State University has earned the nation’s highest ranking – five stars – for being an inclusive institution.

Campus Pride, the leading national educational organization for LGBTQ and ally college students and campus groups, has included the university on its list of the Top 25 schools in the nation for LGBTQ inclusion in policies, programs and practice. The rankings are determined by the organization’s Campus Pride Index, a national benchmarking tool for inclusion policies. More than 300 universities and colleges in the nation participate in the Campus Pride Index.

Kansas State University is the only school in Kansas and the only Big 12 Conference school to be included in the Top 25 listing.

“This five-star ranking reflects the dedication and commitment Kansas State University has made in the past 10 years to become a more inclusive and diverse campus,” said Brandon Haddock, coordinator of the university’s LGBT Resource Center. Haddock credits the work of the K-State Sexuality and Gender Alliance, Gender Collective and other university student organizations, along with the LGBTQ* Faculty Staff Alliance, oSTEM at K-State, university administration and campus partners, for helping the university earn the top Campus Pride ranking.

“Receiving the highest possible ranking from Campus Pride has been part of our K-State 2025 student life initiatives,” said Pat Bosco, vice president for student life and dean of students. “Our welcoming campus provides an intentional commitment to the student success of all of our students as well as a supportive work environment for faculty and staff.”

To earn a place in Campus Pride’s Top 25 listing, an institution had to score the highest percentages in the LGBTQ-friendly benchmarks for policies, programs and practices. This year’s listing includes colleges from 16 states. These campuses represent a range of academic studies with student populations from 807 to more than 45,000, public and private schools alike.

Kansas State University’s LGBT Center and university partners use the annual Campus Pride Index survey to develop goals for the university on policy and practices that promote a more inclusive environment. The center works with many campus partners to evaluate progress toward inclusivity of sexuality and gender identity. Evaluation of current policies and procedures is always evolving and the many partners work to meet expectations of students, faculty and staff that ensure their respect and safety. These partnerships have been integral in making K-State an open and affirming campus to all students, Haddock said.

Among the ways the university promotes and practices inclusion include the adoption of a discrimination statement that includes both sexual orientation and gender identity; providing training to faculty, staff and administrators on inclusivity; celebrating and recognizing the accomplishments of LGBTQ students; and offering such events as the Lavender Graduation, Sexuality and Gender Alliance’s Little Apple Pride, and Transgender Day of Remembrance.

“The Sexuality and Gender Alliance, or SAGA, and our other K-State student organizations have been working hard over the last few years to provide our campus with the tools and space necessary to become such an inclusive place for all LGBT students,” said Adam Carr, alliance president. “Whether it be speaking to classes, hosting events on campus, working with other multicultural student organizations and the Student Governing Association, or just holding weekly meetings for all to attend, we hope that these spaces will continue to affirm the identities of our LGBT students and provide educational opportunities for everyone.”

In naming the university to its Top 25 list, Campus Pride noted the work of the LGBT Resource Center and its dedication to helping LGBT students, staff and faculty and allied members of its campus and surrounding communities to be more secure, educated and productive in their personal and professional surroundings.

“If you are looking for the most trusted, reliable list of LGBTQ-friendly colleges, then you have found the right one,” said Shane Windmeyer, executive director of Campus Pride and creator of the Campus Pride Index. “LGBTQ youth and families today want to know what campuses are doing when it comes to inclusive policies, programs and practices. This ‘best of the best’ list highlights the Top 25. These are the campuses leading the way for LGBTQ inclusion and who have come out to support LGBTQ students from the first day of classes through graduation day.”

Kansas State University has been recognized by College Choice for being among the 50 most inclusive universities and colleges in the nation. The university also has received the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity, or HEED, award for three consecutive years.

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