Briefly Mentioned: UMKC among top 5 gay-friendly schools

Louis Trigg

A report by Newsweek lists UMKC as the No. 5 Gay-Friendly School in the country. It’s a tribute to the acceptance and diversity of the student body at a time when gay rights are still a topic of national debate.

As shown by Rutgers freshman Tyler Clementi, who jumped to his death last year after he was secretly taped having sex, gay college students still suffer discrimination and harassment across the country.

The report, announced last week, relied on two measures for analysis: the College Prowler survey and Campus Climate Index Score.

In the College Prowler survey, students were polled about the development of gay and lesbian communities on campus.

When asked how accepting the campus community as a whole behaves toward someone who falls into minority categories (ethnicity, sexual preference or religion), 89 percent of respondents at UMKC chose “very accepting.” In addition, students said the diversity of the student body is above average.

The Campus Climate Index rated the continuum of progress for LGBT-Friendly policies, programs, and practices on campus.

The school received five stars for LGBT Student Life and five stars for LGBT Recruitment and Retention Efforts.

UMKC has come a long way since 1978, when gay students had to file a lawsuit against the university for their right to become a recognized student organization.

In 2003, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Ally (LGBTQIA) Office was launched to promote the physical presence of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals at UMKC.

Since then, more programs and resources have been established to support the acceptance of these students.

The school also benefits from improving relations in the surrounding area, which has made frequent appearances on other gay-friendly lists lately.

Supportive organizations and entertainment hotspots have made the city an attractive place for LGBTQIA residents.

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