(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University has been recognized for the ninth year in a row as one of the nation’s top 30, “Best of the Best” LGBTQ-friendly colleges and universities by Campus Pride, a nonprofit that supports and improves campus life for LGBTQ people on campuses nationwide.
SOU earned five out of five stars overall on the Campus Pride Index, which ranks universities in each of eight categories: policy inclusion, support and institutional commitment, academic life, student life, housing and residence life, campus safety, counseling and health, and recruitment and retention efforts. SOU drew five-star rankings in six of the categories and four-and-a-half stars in the other two.
The Campus Pride recognition is meaningful for prospective and current LGBTQ students, particularly during a period of political polarization and pandemic-related isolation.
“In order to be in the ‘Best of the Best’ listing, an institution had to score the highest percentages in the LGBTQ-friendly benchmarks for policies, programs and practices,” Campus Pride said on the list’s website.
SOU was also ranked 21st among the 50 best colleges for LGBTQ students for the second year in a row by the online publication College Choice, which released its 2021 rankings in July.
The Campus Pride “Best of the Best” list of the top 30 LGBTQ-friendly colleges and universities in the U.S. included six in the West region and just two in Oregon – SOU and the University of Oregon.
SOU addresses sexual orientation and gender identity in the university’s non-discrimination policy and offers LGBTQ-themed housing. Advocacy for gender and sexuality justice is available via the Social Justice and Equity Center, and the Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies Program provides LGBTQ-related academic offerings. SOU also participates in LGBTQ-specific college fairs and its counseling and health staff provide queer- and trans-oriented services.