SMU makes its debut as one of “10 Religious Schools Living Up to LGBTQ-Inclusive Values” in a new report from Campus Pride, a nonprofit working to make higher education more inclusive for LGBTQ students.
“These ten campuses are perfect examples of different religiously affiliated universities that are doing positive work for LGBTQ youth on their campus. Campus Pride highlights this positive LGBTQ inclusivity work in policy, program and practice to encourage more faith-based institutions to do the same,” the Campus Pride website says.
To be highlighted in Campus Pride’s list, religious institutions needed to score a 3.5 or higher on a 5 point scale assessing LGBTQ-friendly policies, programs and practices. This score comes from the Campus Pride Index, a self-assessment tool for universities to measure LGBTQ-friendliness in policy, academic and student life, housing, campus safety, counseling and health, and recruitment/retention efforts.
“We are honored to be recognized for the positive work our campus is doing to support our students, faculty, and staff and provide an inclusive campus experience,” Dr. K.C. Mmeje, SMU Vice President for Student Affairs, told NBC News. “We strive to be a welcoming community where ‘every Mustang is valued,’ as our students say.”
The Women and LGBT Center led the charge in improving LGBTQ inclusivity on campus, offering resources and programs such as the LGBTQ Symposium, an LGBT mentorship program, and ally training.
“It was a huge honor that I was not expecting to see that we have been recognized with this award from Campus Pride. This is the culmination of years of work by so many and that has led to the ability for us as a center to do some exceptional programs for our students and our campus community. I do think that people see the work that we do and they see it as further testament to the fact that SMU genuinely cares about supporting our LGBTQ+ community,” Women and LGBT Center Director Dr. Sidney Gardner says.
Students also work to improve the campus culture through organizations like Spectrum, SMU’s only undergraduate organization targeted towards providing information, resources, and free space for self-expression for the LGBTQ+ community and any allies interested.
Visit www.smu.edu/StudentAffairs/WomenandLGBTCenter for more information about resources, programs, and community for LGBTQ students at SMU.