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Tuesday, October 2, 2007

What’s Your School’s “Gay-Point Average?”

Posted By on Tue, Oct 2, 2007 at 3:15 PM

Shane Windmeyer runs Campus Pride , a national gay-rights organization that aims to make college kosher for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students. He’s also written five books, including The Advocate College Guide for LGBT Students , published last year. It ranks the nation’s top 100 LGBT-friendly schools based on interviews of more than 5,000 students and 500 faculty and staff. Windmeyer gathered opinions on student perspectives, campus events, housing and support resources, then factored them all into a “Gay-Point Average” for each school. We did okay, too: Ohio State and Oberlin College cracked the top twenty. “The last thing you want for your first impression on campus is to come to some anti-gay stronghold,” he says. “That’ll send you right back into the closet.” This summer, Campus Pride launched the “Campus Climate Index”, a survey school officials can use to compare themselves. The setup’s a bit different – rather than reading polls of students or faculty, officials themselves have to answer questions about their “institutional commitment,” safety, and health. But they also get a separate “Gay-Point Average,” which prospective LBGT students can dissect in detail as they decide where to apply. Though we’ve got two of the country’s most gay-friendly universities, neither Ohio State nor Oberlin have checked in. Neither have most of the others – to date, only six of the 108 other colleges and universities in Ohio have finished the survey. Ohio University posted the highest score – 4.5 on a five-point scale. Baldwin-Wallace and Case Western each topped 3.0, with the University of Cincinnati just behind at 2.5. Youngstown State and, oddly, the Columbus College of Art and Design (1.5 each) -- well, they’ve got some work to do. “The idea is that you want to get better,” says Windmeyer. “Even a two score is not bad – for the South.” -- Jason Nedley

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