The University of Maryland was named the top college in the nation for LGBTQ+ students by Campus Pride and BestColleges. It leads the list of 2023’s Top 25 LGBTQ+-Friendly Colleges, recognizing educational institutions that foster inclusive and supportive environments for LGBTQ+ students. Maryland was No. 1 in 2020 and appeared among the top 25 in 2021 and 2022.
The ranking is based on an extensive evaluation of various factors, including efforts to support and provide academic, financial, and social resources for LGBTQ+ students. In addition to the Campus Pride Index rating scale, BestColleges has included its own ranking methodology accounting for academic quality and college affordability. The collaboration between BestColleges.com and CampusPride aims to empower prospective LGBTQ+ students by providing them with valuable insights and information as they make decisions about their higher education journey.
“The University of Maryland has a deep-seated tradition of interrogating its culture and practices to improve the experiences of LGBTQ+ (QT) Terrapins across campus. It’s an incredible time to be at the University of Maryland, as the LGBTQ+ Equity Center also celebrates our 25th anniversary,” LGBTQ+ Equity Center director Dr. Kristopher Oliveira said. “While we are proud of this #1 designation, we believe that equity is an ongoing project and we intentionally ask ourselves – ‘equity for whom?’ Today we celebrate this accomplishment with everyone on campus and we are eager to continue enacting policies and practices where all Terrapins feel – and are – fully embraced. Among many projects in the months and years ahead, we are excited to improve our IT systems to better reflect the richness of our identities, and to create and foster communities of care for students, faculty, and staff that are more attentive to the crossroads of identity.”
Shantala Thompson, associate director of Maryland’s LGBTQ+ Equity Center, cites campus partners alongside the Equity Center’s work as vital contributions to the rankings:
The Office of Multicultural Involvement & Community Advocacy (MICA), in particular their LGBTQ+ Student Involvement area, which co-hosted Trans Day of Visibility events this year, and was instrumental in providing support and programming for LGBTQ+ students
Providers in the University Health Center who offer gender-affirming healthcare and who partnered with the LGBTQ+ Equity Center and TomboyX this year to provide free binding and tucking supplies to more than 300 students
The Counseling Center, which offers LGBTQ+-affirming counseling, an LGBTQIA support group and a free Rainbow Walk-In hour
The School of Public Health and its Prevention Research Center (UMD-PRC), which is dedicated to research, service and training around LGBTQ+ mental and behavioral health equity
The LGBTQ studies program in the Harriet Tubman Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, which offers a minor and certificate in LGBTQ studies
The President’s Commission for LGBTQ+ Issues, which continues to mobilize students, faculty and staff
And as always, the advocacy and support of many dedicated students, faculty, staff, units, and community members.
Dr. Stephanie H. Chang, UMD’s assistant vice president for diversity and inclusion, added, “Thank you to BestColleges and Campus Pride for this recognition. This recognition is one that is shared with our campus partners and LGBTQ+ students, faculty and staff who have tirelessly advocated for LGBTQ+ inclusive and affirming services, programs, and educational opportunities on campus. While there is much to be celebrated, there is also much to sustain and grow. This recognition is one step towards celebrating LGBTQ+ students. The next step is to recognize, honor, and celebrate LGBTQ+ community at the intersection of our multiple identities and cultures. Let us see this ranking as a much needed moment of celebration and a call to continue our collective efforts of making Maryland an LGBTQ+ affirming and inclusive campus.”
For more information about the “Top 25 LGBTQ+-Friendly Colleges” rankings and the collaboration between BestColleges.com and CampusPride, visit BestColleges.com.
News release by UMD Right Now. Photo courtesy of UMD.
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