Oregon ranks in top 25 of LGBTQ+ friendly schools in the country
The University of Oregon ranked in the top 25 LGBTQ+ friendly schools across the country, according to a national organization which seeks to provide an inclusive and welcoming learning environment.
The organization, College Pride, considers a number of factors when making the list, including LGBTQ policy inclusion, student life, and access to mental health and counseling services. The group did not individually rank its top-25 schools.
College Choice, a website that publishes a variety of lists ranking colleges using academic and social criteria, ranked UO 28 out of 50 LGBTQ+ friendly universities in the nation. This is an improvement from last year’s ranking of 42 out of 50.
Portland State University and Southern Oregon University were also ranked in College Pride’s list of top 25 LGBTQ+ schools.
UO’s high ranking is due to its high number of gender-inclusive bathrooms, LGBTQ+ organizations and clubs and the university’s mental health and counseling services.
Despite the UO’s spot on the list, a member of the LGBTQ+ community on campus has concerns about how the administration and faculty respond to incidents of discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals.
“I’ve had an instance a in class in which a teacher didn’t step in when a student was insulting me for bringing up a personal experience about my queer identity,” said Cressa Perloff, the 2016-2017 events coordinator for the LGBTQA3 (QA) student union on campus.
Perloff says that this is not the only area in which the university fails to meet the needs of LGBTQ+ community, there are also many financial needs which go unaddressed.
“I’ll say that for years, QA staff have been taken advantage of by the university by paying them despicably low stipends,” Perloff says. “From personal experience, I’ll say that UO is absolutely failing its LGBTQ+ student leaders by taking advantage of them, and in turn failing the rest of the LGBTQ+ student population by ensuring the QA is often barely functional because its staff are overworked and underpaid.” she says. “This is not a problem unique to LGBTQ+ communities on campus — all ASUO student union staff are paid tiny stipends, and most of them are marginalized-identity-based groups.”
Perloff says that the $120 per month stipend she received worked out to just $1.50 to $3 an hour and she often worked 15-20 hours a week.
“In the meantime, barely-paid student employees will continue to do the work that salaried employees should be doing — work UO refuses to invest in,” Perloff said. “If this is what a top-25 LGBT-friendly school looks like, I’d hate to know what the bottom 25 look like.”