Princeton Review's Approach Is Outdated

COMMENTARY: One of the nation's leading college ranking groups fails to keep actual LGBT students in mind when ranking the most gay-friendly campuses.

BY Shane L. Windmeyer

August 12 2009 11:00 PM ET

The language of "alternative lifestyles" is also problematic in its disregard for LGBT people. The phrase suggests that the legitimate, often painful lives of LGBT students are nothing more than an edgy fashion choice, The Princeton Review needs to update its late-'80s lexicon to recognize that LGBT existence is not a chosen alternative any more than the skin color of African-Americans is. The insensitivity to language and to the true complexity of minority lives should be a major warning sign for LGBT students and families that this guide does not have the perspective or nuance to be a trusted resource.

As the Princeton Review "Top 20" listings continue to get coverage in major media outlets nationwide, it is important that LGBT students and families recognize this as the commercial, unrefined effort that it is. As the founder and executive director of Campus Pride , the leading national nonprofit advocacy group for LGBT students and leaders, I feel morally compelled to denounce the Princeton Review's approach to its LGBT rankings. LGBT youths deserve better than its reliance on the perception of straight students, simplistic methodologies, and insensitive language when making major decisions that will impact their education, safety, and lives.

If students and families do decide to use the Princeton Review as a resource, I would encourage them to compare its rankings for LGBT schools with those available from Campus Pride's Campus Climate Index . This resource, developed with guidance from LGBT youths, higher-education professionals, and prominent LGBT researchers, provides a rigorous, accurate assessment of policies, programs, and practices. And, unlike the Princeton Review, it is free.

 

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