Kent State Ranked High as an LGBTQ-Friendly Campus
An inclusive campus acknowledges and respects diversity, and offers a welcoming environment for all community members regardless of their differences. Kent State University is making strides in creating a more inclusive campus and the university’s efforts are being recognized nationally.
Kent State has been ranked 4.5 out of 5 on the Campus Pride Index, the premier national benchmarking tool for creating safer and more LGBTQ-friendly learning environments at colleges and universities. The university moved up from a 3.5 score last year.
“The increase in our Campus Pride Index rating means that the university is improving in being more inclusive with policy and practice when it comes to the LGBTQ+ community,” says Ken Ditlevson, director of Kent State’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Student Center. “It also means that we will recruit more students because they will know that they’ve selected a university where they’ll be well supported. We’ll also be attracting more well-qualified faculty and staff for this same reason.”
The Campus Pride Index examines eight LGBTQ-friendly factors: policy inclusion, support and institutional commitment, academic life, student life, housing, campus safety, counseling and health, and recruitment and retention efforts.
“Thankfully, most LGBTQ+ students feel supported at Kent State University because of all of the layers of support and options that exist to help them along the way,” Mr. Ditlevson says. “Last year, there were seven LGBTQ+ student organizations on campus, which is amazing since many universities fail in offering even one.”
Kent State’s LGBTQ Student Center expanded last year into newly renovated and furnished space, where students can relax, meet new friends, get involved in programming, and engage in tutoring services or career development and exploration. The university also offers five scholarships that give preference to LGBTQ+ individuals, as well as an emergency fund to assist students in financial crisis, Mr. Ditlevson says.
In 2016, the university established a living-learning community for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and asexual students and their allies in Korb Hall. The university also recently established a Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality to advance the scholarly exploration of gender and sexuality.
“Kent State offers LGBTQ courses, an academic minor, 13 residence halls with gender-inclusive living, trans-inclusive healthcare plans for students, faculty and staff, preferred name policy and universal restrooms, so there are many supportive aspects at Kent State University for LGBTQ+ individuals,” Mr. Ditlevson adds.