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Monday, March 20, 2023

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The Pride Flag flying adjacent to the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union The Pride Flag flying adjacent to the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union

SDSU Top 10 in U.S., No. 1 in California for Supporting LGBTQ+ Students

SDSU's top 10 national ranking is an improvement over last year.
By SDSU News Team

San Diego State University provides the best support for LGBTQ+ students of any college in California and is among the nation’s top 10, according to new rankings from an organization dedicated to promoting inclusive and safe environments for the LGBTQ community to learn and live.

In an index released Wednesday and timed for Pride Month, SDSU was ranked No. 8 nationally with a perfect five-star rating in the list of “Best Colleges for LGBTQ+ Students,” developed by Campus Pride and BestColleges. The ranking is up from No. 12 in the partnership’s 2019 list.

SDSU was at the top of the organization's first-ever, separate list of the best colleges in each state for California. The list is intended to serve as a resource for students who want to experience an inclusive environment but may not have the opportunity to attend a school out of state.

“SDSU’s engaged students, passionate faculty and committed staff have tirelessly advanced institutional policy and campus climate changes to support LGBTQ+ students,” said Jessica Nare, associate chief diversity officer for Student Engagement. “The Pride Center, and LGBTQ+ Studies, in particular, create critical spaces for queer and trans students to thrive at SDSU.”

The Campus Pride Index assesses colleges and universities on eight factors affecting the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer and questioning community. SDSU earned a perfect, five-star rating in five of them: academic life, student life, housing and residence life, campus safety, and recruitment and retention efforts. The rankings were announced one day after the Supreme Court ruled that employers who fire employees for being gay or transgender are in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. 

SDSU maintains an on-campus Pride Center to serve as a safe and affirming gathering space for persons of all sexual and gender identities and their allies. Its resources include counseling and a peer mentoring program.

The university has made safety for the LGBTQ+ community a priority through its SafeZones initiative, which offers an Ally Training program for faculty, staff and students.

“The success of The Pride Center stems from collaborations with other identity centers on campus and from the understanding that queer student well-being must come from a holistic perspective,” said Wesley Palau, the Pride Center’s coordinator of equity and inclusion. “Our strength in supporting LGBTQIA+ students is a result of the cohesion and solidarity with fellow communities on many fronts at SDSU.”

Also, and in conjunction with SafeZones and student groups, the LGBTQ Research Consortium supports interdisciplinary scholarship and fosters network-building among academics, community members, and policy makers locally and nationally.

SDSU was the second university in the United States and the first in California to offer a major in LGBTQ studies, and it began an annual Lavender Graduation ceremony in 2010.

“That SDSU would be ranked as a university committed to serving LGBTQ+ students did not occur overnight. This is a function of years and years of groundwork laid by leaders in our community,” said J. Luke Wood, vice president for Student Affairs and Campus Diversity.

“We have much to be proud of, but even more work to do, especially in an era marked by tumultuous politics,” Wood said. “It is our responsibility and commitment to ensuring a safe and welcoming environment for all LGBTIAQ+ students, faculty and staff and others, no matter their social identities.”