These are the 'worst, most unsafe' campuses for LGBTQ students to attend

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LGBTQ students, as you contemplate college, here’s a list of schools you may want to avoid.

Nonprofit organization Campus Pride on Monday released its updated list of about 180 of the “absolute worst, most unsafe college campuses for LGBTQ students in the United States.” The nonprofit organization’s new alphabetical list – updated from a 2016 list – has 50 new schools and universities.

These are the 'worst, most unsafe' campuses for LGBTQ students to attend
© Tom Stevens Pride flags in Hillsborough, North Carolina, in June 2021.

Campus Pride is a volunteer-driven, student-based network that seeks to provide a safer college environment for LGBTQ students through resources, programs and services, according to their website.

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Over the course of six years, colleges have been added as they either applied or received religious exemptions to Title IX, which is a federal law that “protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance.”

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Schools are also added based upon their past history and track record with anti-LGBTQ actions, programs and practices. 

“These aren’t just bad campuses or the worst campuses – these campuses fundamentally are unsafe for LGBTQ students, and, as a result, they’re fundamentally unsafe for all students to go to,” Shane Windmeyer, founder and executive director of Campus Pride, told NBC News. “They promote an environment of hostility, of discrimination, harassment, toward a group of people, and who wants – when you’re trying to be educated – to have that type of negative learning environment?”

New to the list are Baylor University in Waco, Texas, Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, and Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee. Universities including Lee were added after filing an amicus brief in Boston v. Clayton County to allow employee discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in 2019.

Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, was added to the list in 2016 due to its history of anti-LGBTQ discrimination, including placing students in conversion therapy and denying discounts to same-sex and trans spouses of military personnel. 

In the university’s doctrinal statement, it states, “Every believer is responsible to live in obedience to the Word of God in separation from sin. Sinful acts are prohibited by God and include but are not limited to … denial of birth sex by self-identification with a different gender; … (and) romantic coupling among persons of the same sex.” 

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The university had Gay Rights Activists arrested in March 2006, ordered custom textbooks omitting a section on gays in June 2016 and was included in the Boston v. Clayton County amicus brief.

Religious institutions, similar to Liberty University, have imposed similar rules and beliefs not only for their students, but also their employees.

Biology professor Karyn Collie at Malone University in Canton, Ohio, recently announced she was marrying a woman, and shortly after was asked to resign. 

Teachers at Malone University are required to sign and adhere to Community Responsibilities, which prohibit homosexual activity, according to The Canton Repository, a part of the USA TODAY Network. 

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Collie knew her marriage would violate the contract she initially signed, so she tried to develop an alternative solution with the university. Ultimately, she was asked to resign.

The university received backlash from students and alumni who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community, as well as LGBTQ supporters and allies. Some alumni backed Malone University as they stuck to their guidelines while others are embarrassed by the university’s decision, according to the Repository.

Currents LGTBQ students hosted a sit-in at a weekly worship service in disagreement with the announcement and to voice they no longer feel safe at the institution.

Other schools on the list are:

  • Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas
  • Florida College in Temple Terrace, Florida
  • Fresno Pacific University in Fresno, California
  • Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee
  • Mississippi College in Clinton, Mississippi
  • Oklahoma Wesleyan University in Bartlesville, Oklahoma
  • Oral Roberts in Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • University of Dallas in Irving, Texas
  • Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois
  • York College in York, Nebraska

Contributing: Kelli Weir

Follow Naomi Ludlow on Twitter: @itsnaomikay. 

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: These are the ‘worst, most unsafe’ campuses for LGBTQ students to attend

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