As white supremacist groups light campuses with tiki torches and fear, more and more students are asking which schools are not just friendly — but safe. The Princeton Review is on a mission to let us know just that. The college prep go-to asked 137,000 students how much they agreed or disagreed with the following: "Students treat all persons equally, regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity/expression." Here are the campuses that got the lowest scores on this test.
Despite its 94.7 percent acceptance rate, this school is less than LGBT friendly. One freshman wrote in Unigo, a forum for students to talk about the conditions of their universities, "I've noticed a serious undercurrent of homophobia that I find disturbing."
In 2015, the university's commencement speaker, Brent Bozell made numerous homophobic remarks during the ceremony while on a tirade against “anti-Catholic, pro-gay agendas” of the media. In the audience: gay graduate Maxwell Adam Frazier, whose open letter to the college president demanding an apology went viral. "My non-academic life at UD cannot be described as anything but homophobic and toxic.” wrote Frazier. "So we are at a bit of a crossroads: either UD needs to make a change or it needs to honestly declare, 'We do not love our gay students. We do not care that they feel safe or welcomed. We would be better off without them, and we find no reason to accommodate for their existence, let alone their attendance. Their security, success, and spirituality simply mean less to us.'"
This college shares a hometown with True Light Pentecost Church, an anti-LGBT hate group that has declared on its blog that, "The sub-human culture created by the anti-christ and magnified by the Sodomite/Lesbian movement," has “brought end-time prophecy to a final state.”
The technical school faced criticism in 2014 when it invited Greg and Susan Gianforte to speak at graduation. The two creationist tech moguls were heavily involved in a conservative push against a city ordinance that would outlaw discrimination against LGBT people.
Arkansas has long tried to pass "license to discriminate" laws. Lawmakers in the college town of Fayetteville passed an LGBT-inclusive anti-discrimination ordinance two years ago, but voters repealed it in a special election.
In 2015, a student and two other men were charged with a hate crime after calling another student an antigay slur and assaulting him on Lehigh's campus. The victim suffered head damage, and administrators did not condemn the attack.
According to the school's LGBT guidelines, they do not see same-sex attraction as a sin and believe, "All Christians, regardless of sexual orientation, can live lives that exemplify the fruits of the Spirit, turning away from temptation and embodying love, kindness, gentleness and mercy." Regardless, students don't feel the school lives up to its own guidelines.
Wake Forest student Gracie Harrington told HuffPo the last time the university was on this list, "Many students come to Wake Forest from families where homosexuality is labeled as sinful and unnatural. It is important that Wake Forest educates its students on the many different walks of life."
In an exposé in Time, Julie Rodgers wrote about her experience as a Wheaton staffmember who served as a resource for LGBT students. "Even though they had known I referred to myself as gay prior to hiring me, they encouraged me not to refer to myself as gay any longer. They asked me to say I was simply a Christian who experienced same-sex attraction, one who was open to the Lord healing me in ways that could lead to a holy marriage with a man. The problem was that I didn’t think I needed to be healed –– I had been clear about that before I was hired." After fighting back to be out, she was asked to resign, realizing "LGBT people are not wanted at Wheaton — not if word gets out to the donors."
In 2015, Hillsdale's chaplain sent out an email requesting that the entire school's community pray against "evil" same-sex marriage rights while the issue was being decided by the Supreme Court.
In a recent discussion about brotherhood at the college, Jeffrey Harris, a 1990 graduate, said "it was difficult enough being a black person, I couldn't have imagined being out on this campus." In 2016, a professor accused the university of firing him for making transphobic comments regarding anti-trans bathroom bills, saying in particular "The first man who goes in the restroom with my daughter will not have to worry about surgery."
In 2015, Baylor dropped a long ban on "homosexual acts" from its sexual conduct policy. But students still feel unwelcome. “As a bisexual woman in the Baylor community, I am very much in the closet to everybody that I am not good friends with here, just to minimize backlash,” an anonymous Baylor student The Atlantic.
The northeastern school is no stranger to lists commenting on its anti-LGBT attitudes. Administrators invited an "ex-gay" speaker to required chapel service last year. In his speech, he advocated for LGBT students to let in God and let go of their desires.
The large public university made headlines in 2015 when its Pride Center was repeatedly targeted by vandals, most notably when someone ripped down its rainbow flag and left the note, "Fags get AIDS more often. #ImWithHer.”
As the country's largest religious university and the third largest private school in the nation, this religious hub has a large reach. Unfortunately, it does not extend itself to LGBT students. The school's honor code prohibits homosexuality, reading "The Honor Code requires all members of the university community to manifest a strict commitment to the law of chastity. Homosexual behavior is inappropriate and violates the Honor Code. Homosexual behavior includes not only sexual relations between members of the same sex, but all forms of physical intimacy that give expression to homosexual feelings.” Recently, a professor was fired for posting a pro-LGBT message during Pride Month.
Gordon College has long been under scrutiny for a recently-repealed "homosexual ban." The university's president, Michael Lindsay, is among several evangelical leaders who petitioned President Obama in 2015 for exemption from an executive order that would prohibit federal contractors from discriminating based on sexual orientation. Multiple professors have sued the college, claiming they were denied promotions for being supportive of the LGBT community.
The second-largest university in Alabama has had a long history of discriminating and isolating LGBT students. "I came out as transgender in 2011, and I decided to transition in the middle of the semester," a former student, Erin Walker, told the school's student newspaper, The Plainsman. "Everybody knew I was the transgender student in the class. Chemical engineering is a conservative major like any engineering major. I was alienated. Most people didn't want to talk to me. I didn't really get along with anybody after I came out. I very quickly became the black sheep."
The least welcoming place for LGBT students is nestled in a 1,000-acre campus, overlooking Lake Taneycomo. The school's student handbook explicitly forbids “touching, caressing, and other physical conduct of a sexual nature with a person of the same sex.” Heterosexual dating and affection is not forbidden at the school — as long as it's celibate.