The University of Maryland has been named the seventh best college for LGBTQ students in the 2017 ranking by Campus Pride and Best Colleges. UMD’s LGBT Equity Center is featured for its campus impact within the ranking.
The new ranking combines the Best Colleges academic and affordability metrics and the Campus Pride Index Score, which measures LGBTQ-friendly campus life. Only universities with a 4.5 or 5 star rating, indicating above average performance in all eight of the LGBTQ-inclusive factors on the Campus Pride Index, were considered.
“Excellence is embodied by continuous improvement and engagement across diverse campus communities," said Nic Sakurai, Acting Director, LGBT Equity Center. “No campus is a perfect place for LGBTQ+ people, but what makes the critical difference and what makes the University of Maryland a great place to be is active involvement of LGBTQ+ people and allies across many spheres of academic and campus life, working together to promote intersectional social justice for all.”
The LGBT Equity Center has been at the forefront of the university’s efforts to cultivate strong communities for Terps of all gender identities and sexual orientations since its inception in 1998. Recent strides made by this office, in conjunction with Multicultural Involvement and Community Advocacy (MICA) and many other campus partners, have helped make UMD a place where all are welcome:
TransTerps: A campus-wide campaign that identifies, disseminates, and implements good practices for transgender inclusion on campus. The centerpiece of this campaign is to offer tools for offices and student groups to be able to assess and continuously improve their good practices for trans inclusion on campus, including sample syllabus language about names/pronouns, examples of ways to share about pronouns, and examples of good practice for demographic data collection and inclusive restroom signage. Dozens of departments and groups on campus have signed on and are working to improve the climate for trans and gender non-conforming people.
Lavender Leadership Honor Society: A first-of-its-kind collegiate leadership honor society focusing on LGBTQ+ social justice. The society has inducted over 100 members of UMD students, staff, faculty and alumni to the group in addition to honorary inductions for several notable figures including, the Mayor of College Park Patrick Wojahn; actress and advocate Laverne Cox; and noted scholar Cathy Cohen. The society is advised and supported by a student board, and is also affiliated with a series of workshops focusing on leadership development that puts racial justice into focus in the LGBTQ+ community context.
LGBT Studies: Both a minor and a certificate in LGBT Studies are offered through the Department of Women's Studies. The program has been in existence formally since 2002 and as of last year has graduated 89 students with certificates and 43 with minors. All LGBT Studies graduates are recognized during the annual Lavender Graduation ceremony hosted by the LGBT Equity Center and supported by the Novak Family LGBT Student fund.