Photo courtesy of Oakland University

OU Ranked as Most LGBTQ-Friendly Campus in Michigan

BY SEAN DELANEY

Oakland University has been ranked as the most LGBTQ-friendly campus in the state of Michigan by the Campus Pride Index, which rates both colleges and universities using a five-star system.

"I am honored and inspired to be part of an organization that is so deeply committed to ensuring a diverse, welcoming and collaborative environment," said Oakland University President Ora Pescovitz. "I am also enthusiastic about working with everyone on campus to maintain and grow OU's status as a place where everyone can feel safe and comfortable."

According to Grace Wojcik, coordinator for OU's Gender & Sexuality Center, the university received four-and-a-half stars from Campus Pride this year, an improvement over last year's already impressive rating of four out of five stars.

The ranking is based on a variety of factors, including LGBTQ policy inclusion, academic life, student life, campus safety, housing and residence life, and other relevant practices.

"The new Campus Pride rating reaffirms the work of the GSC and its collaborative partnerships with a variety of campus partners," Wojcik said. "It further demonstrates the value of the Gender & Sexuality Center and its impact on the lives of our students."

The university was rated highly in multiple areas, with Campus Pride noting that OU has already implemented several LGBTQ-inclusive policies and programs on campus, including:

- Adoption of a non-discrimination statement inclusive of sexual orientation and gender

identity/expression

- Providing insurance coverage to employee's same-sex partner

- Training new faculty/staff on sexual orientation and gender identity issues

- LGBTQ-specific courses and programs

- Gender-inclusive housing for new and returning students

- A procedure for reporting LGBTQ-related bias incidents and hate crimes

- LGBTQ student scholarships

- A trans-inclusive trained counseling staff

- Offering LGBTQ-inclusive training and resources to admission counselors

In addition, the report also highlighted several of the LGBTQ-inclusive social activities and educational events offered at OU, including the upcoming LGBTQIA Welcome Reception, as well as the availability of the Gender & Sexuality Center, which serves as an important resource for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual and ally students, staff and faculty at Oakland University.

"This improvement would not have been possible without the dedication of the larger Oakland University community and I look forward to building upon this success," Wojcik said.

To learn more about the ranking, visit http://www.campusprideindex.org.
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