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IU Bloomington named among the nation’s most LGBTQ-friendly campuses

For Immediate Release Aug 24, 2023

EDITOR’S NOTE: This June 27 news release has been updated to reflect additional rankings from Campus Pride.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Indiana University Bloomington has been named one of the top colleges and universities for LGBTQ+ students according to Campus Pride, the leading national organization dedicated to building future LGBTQ and ally leaders and creating safer communities at colleges and universities.

Campus Pride’s 2023 Best of the Best LGBTQ-friendly list recognizes four-year public and private colleges and universities from around the country achieving 5 out of 5 stars and the highest percentage scores on the Campus Pride Index. The index is the premier national benchmarking tool measuring LGBTQ-friendly policies, programs and practices on college and university campuses.

To earn a ranking of 5 out of 5 stars, IU received a percentage score from 90 to 100 based on its reporting of LGBTQ-friendly features. Campuses are scored on eight LGBTQ-friendly factors. A few features that earned IU this distinction include support and institutional commitment, academic and student life, campus safety, and recruitment and retention efforts.

A pride flag flying in the wind Indiana University Bloomington is ranked fourth nationally for its effort to foster an inclusive and supportive environment for LGBTQ+ students. Photo by Liz Kaye, Indiana University “Indiana University has a long history of cultivating environments that advocate inclusivity for all,” said James Wimbush, vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion, interim IU Bloomington vice provost for diversity and inclusion, and Johnson Chair for Diversity and Leadership. “Being recognized once again by Campus Pride for our work to celebrate and embrace the LGBTQ+ community affirms our commitment and acknowledges the hard work of many to make IU a place where all can learn, grow and thrive.”

Among the many ways IU Bloomington ensures LGBTQ+ students are safe and supported is through its LGBTQ+ Culture Center. The center started as a one-room space on campus nearly 30 years ago and now occupies an entire house, which is being re-envisioned to make students feel even more at home.

The center provides a wealth of programming and resources to support LGBTQ+ students, including a mentorship program that pairs incoming students with returning students involved with the LGBTQ+ community and an extensive library for research or entertainment purposes. It also offers on-demand and live trainings to help everyone on IU Bloomington’s campus learn more about the LGBTQ+ community.

Earlier this summer, IU Bloomington was also ranked fourth nationwide on a list of the top LGBTQ+-friendly colleges. The Best Colleges rankings were released in partnership with Campus Pride and are based on several factors, including a university’s commitment to academic, financial and social resources for LGBTQ+ students. They also account for affordability and academic quality.

“We’ve been ranked highly by Campus Pride for several years, but to be fourth in the nation is an acknowledgment of our work to create a safe and inclusive campus for LGBTQ+ students and their allies,” said Bruce Smail, director of the LGBTQ+ Culture Center and special assistant to the vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion. “We have many folks partnering and supporting the LGBTQ+ community at IU to ensure they have everything they need, especially when they face challenges.”

The health and well-being of all students are a priority for IU, and the center offers unique resources for members of the LGBTQ+ community. In addition to the free, 24/7 virtual mental health care services available to all IU students, LGBTQ+ students can take advantage of the center’s weekly embedded counseling sessions.

“I think one of the most important things we do is help LGBTQ+ students maintain their mental health,” said Kevin Tomlinson, a student in the Master of Social Work program who works at the Center. “Being different can be hard at times. Part of what we do is to let people know there are people who care about them and resources available to help them.”

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