On Aug. 24, IU was recognized as one of the top 40 “Best of the Best” LGBTQ-friendly colleges in the country, according to Campus Pride. This ranking is based on the number of resources and opportunities a university provides to its LGBTQ students.
“It is an honor to be named on this list.” Bruce Smail, director of the IU LGBTQ+ Culture Center, said. “It is not the first time that we have been on this list. We have been listed every year for the past several years, which is a good thing.”
IU currently has several resources for queer-identifying students such as LGBTQ housing, a mentorship program, student groups and scholarships. LGBTQ students also have several leadership opportunities through the Queer Student Union, which was founded two years ago.
Although IU is well-known for being an LGBTQ-friendly campus, the LGBTQ+ Culture Center does not deny that homophobic incidents do happen on campus. The Center provides students with resources when these events do occur.
“(Homophobia) can still happen at a (LGBTQ)-friendly university,” Smail said. “But I think the important part is that if something did happen, there are resources on this campus to support the students and to help advocate for the students.”
Through resources such as the Student Advocates program, queer-identifying students never have to feel alone if a situation occurs. This program is used as a resource for students to go talk to retired faculty about any challenges they are facing in their personal or academic life.
“I think this is an accurate ranking for IU,” IU Junior Scotty Vrablik said. “It’s always great to see LGBTQ+ resources throughout classrooms and academic buildings as someone who is a part of the community.”
IU Junior Willow Arenz said they did not expect a university in a small Midwest town to be LGBTQ friendly. However, IU has surpassed any stereotypes through the hard work the people here have put into accepting queer students on campus, they said.
"I’m gender fluid, so some days I’ll just be wearing shorts and a T-shirt, and other days I’ll be in a long, bright skirt and a full face of pink makeup," Arenz said. “All the faculty have been perfectly pleasant, and I’ve personally never felt discriminated against for being more expressive in my gender.”
The LGBTQ+ Culture Center offers a list of resources on its website.