Campus Pride: 180 U.S. College Campuses “Unsafe” for LGBTQ+ Students
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- Campus Pride’s list of the "worst, most unsafe" campuses for LGBTQ+ students grew by 50 institutions in 2021.
- Title IX religious exemption is the most common reason for Campus Pride to add an institution to its "Worst List."
- The Biden administration published this year a list of institutions that applied for Title IX exemptions under the Trump administration.
The "absolute worst, most unsafe campuses" for LGBTQ+ learners are growing in number, according to national nonprofit advocacy group Campus Pride.
Campus Pride's sixth annual "Worst List" expanded this year to include 180 colleges and universities — 50 more than the 2020 edition. This marks the largest single-year expansion since Campus Pride began publishing its "Worst List" in 2015.
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“Campus Pride was founded 20 years ago with a vision of campuses and a society free of anti-LGBTQ prejudice, bigotry, and hate,” Campus Pride founder and executive director Shane Windmeyer said in a statement. “And while much progress has been made since then, clearly there remains a lot more work to do as we develop and train future leaders to create safer, more inclusive communities on campuses.”
Title IX Religious Exemptions Drive Growth of ‘Worst List’
According to Campus Pride, many colleges on the 2021 list either received or applied for a religious exemption to Title IX. Title IX, a federal law, protects students in federally funded schools and educational programs from discrimination on the basis of sex.
Schools may apply for religious exemption from Title IX to enact discriminatory policies without losing federal funding, according to Campus Pride. Doing so is the most common reason for a school to make the "Worst List."
Under the Obama administration, religious schools had to submit a letter outlining why they needed an exemption to Title IX. The Trump administration changed this rule so religious schools were automatically exempt.
This year, the Biden administration published lists of schools that applied for Title IX religious exemptions during the Trump administration, Windmeyer said in a statement. This information, not previously available to the public, contributed to this year's expanded "Worst List," according to Windmeyer
The Biden administration hasn’t clarified or reinstated a requirement for religious schools to apply for Title IX exemption, Windmeyer said in the statement.
Institutions Nationwide Deemed ‘Unsafe’ for LGBTQ+ Students
Campus Pride’s "Worst List" includes campuses of varying sizes across the country.
California led the nation with 20 college campuses deemed "unsafe." Texas placed second, with 17 campuses making the list.
Of the list's 180 campuses, 52 schools reported student enrollments of 1,000 or fewer. Nineteen campuses enrolled 5,000 or more students.
The five largest universities to make the list were:
- Lipscomb University - Nashville, Tennessee
- Brigham Young University - Provo, Utah
- Brigham Young University-Idaho - Rexburg, Idaho
- Baylor University - Waco, Texas
- Indiana Wesleyan University - Marion, Indiana
Choosing an inclusive college or university is vital for many prospective students. Nearly one-quarter of all reported hate crimes at postsecondary institutions are related to sexual orientation, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
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