South hotbed for colleges hostile to gay students

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You just thought you knew which always-on-top campuses are among the nation’s most LGBT-friendly colleges. Move over, Emory and Rice. This isn’t your year in one popular annual review.

Just in time for Back to School, the Princeton Review once again maps out the country’s most welcoming – and most unwelcoming – colleges and universities for LGBT students and faculty. The South doesn’t lose its place as home to the worst, but a few of its shining oases for diversity have lost their luster this year.

We’re quite used to seeing Emory University in Atlanta and Rice University in Houston shine with rainbow colors on polls like this. In fact, Rice made Princeton’s Top 20 just last year. No such luck for 2015, at least on this particular ranking. Of course, super-gay Emory gets this snub year after year.

The South sucks on so many gay issues, so far be it from this report to suddenly change the game. Eight of the report’s Top 20 LGBTQ Unfriendliest Campuses are in the South, the most for any one region. Only two schools south of the Mason-Dixon Line made the Top 20 LGBTQ Friendliest list: Warren Wilson College in Asheville, N.C., and New College of Florida in Sarasota.

Georgia gays can rest a little easier that their state isn’t home to any of the “Worst” schools, but venom in the report stings especially bad in Texas. A third of those anti-gay Southern campuses are in the Lone Star State: Texas A&M, Baylor, and University of Dallas. Other Southern schools at the bottom are Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia, University of Tennessee, Wake Forest University in North Carolina, Auburn University in Alabama, University of Arkansas and University of Mississippi.

Of course, LGBT inclusion is only one part of Princeton’s 63 rankings of colleges on various criteria. It culls the lists from 80-question surveys of 130,000 students that ask them about their school's academics, administration, student body and themselves. Rice does well in terms of Best Quality of Life and Happiest Students. Emory ranks high on Quality of Life.

Though Princeton Review’s rankings are among the annual standard-bearers, there’s still hope for gay-friendly shout-outs to make LGBT locals proud. Emory, Rice and University of Houston are regulars on Campus Pride’s list of gayest schools year in and year out. Emory and Rice can also take heart in an online poll by eCollegeFinder that places each of them as the gayest school in their respective states.

[Princeton Review | h/t Towleroad]


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