Criteria met by the UofU to rank as the 2nd LGBTQ-friendliest university

Affordable Colleges Online has ranked the University of Utah as the second-friendliest higher education institute for LGBTQ students in the United States, coming in behind the University of California-Riverside.

AC ‘s summary of the ranking says: With the goal of fostering acceptance and fair treatment to LGBTQ students, the University of Utah developed the LGBT Resource Center, which established an open and safe area for student interaction. In addition to developing closer bonds with their peers, students will also be able to use the center’s space for its academic support, which includes a communal study area and several public computers. Students who are still in the process of exploring their gender identity and sexuality may also be interested in the Mentor/Mentee Program, which pairs them with another member of the LGBTQ community who can provide their support and life experience.

The following criteria determined the UofU’s ranking. However, the university fell short in the areas health care programs including mental health services.

Criteria A: The existence of an LGBTQ resource center on campus

The mission of the UofU’s LGBT Resource Center is to “[act] in accountability with the campus community by identifying the needs of people with a queer range of (a)gender and (a)sexual experiences and responding with university-wide services.”

The center hosts “Fabulous Fridays” to create a safe space for students. The weekly gathering includes free food, board games and mingling with fellow students. The center also holds workshops, has mentorship programs and panels, and presents various other events throughout the year. The resource center also gives academic support complete with a study area and computers.

Criteria B: The existence of LGBTQ clubs, organizations and events

The UofU’s Queer and Trans Students of Color takes a focused approach. Providing space for intersecting racial and gender identities, the group works for social justice, community building, critical thinking, and self-expression.

The student group Interdependence focuses on the intersection of identities from disability to illness, and gender to sexuality.

Criteria C: The presence of LGBTQ-specific scholarships

A list of LGBTQ scholarships is on the LGBT Resource Center’s website.

Criteria D: Gender-inclusive housing  

UofU students have the option of living in a shared space, with a preferred roommate. They may also choose their own room and bathroom, or in a single room and a shared unisex bathroom. Another option is in the Alliance House Living Learning Community, in which the student may choose a space without any consideration of gender identity or sexual orientation.

Criteria E: The presence of gender-neutral bathrooms

A map of gender-neutral bathrooms across campus is on the LGBT Resource Center’s website.

Criteria F: Inclusivity training for students, faculty, and administrators

The center provides materials to allies of the community with a guide to pronouns. Why pronouns are important, how to ask and what to do if you make a mistake.

For the complete list of rankings, visit affordablecollegesonline.org

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