The University of Illinois Chicago has been named one of the top 30 colleges and universities for LGBTQ+ students, according to Campus Pride, a national organization serving LGBTQ+ and ally student leaders and campus organizations in the areas of leadership development, support programs and service.
UIC is the only Chicago-based institution and one of only two universities in Illinois to earn the Best of the Best recognition. The distinction is determined by the Campus Pride Index, the organization's tool for measuring institutional commitment to inclusive policies, programs and practices. https://www.campuspride.org/2023bestofthebest.
"We are proud of this recognition, which reflects the extensive efforts made by many UIC units and community members who serve our LGBTQ+ community. And we also know we can do more and will strive to do more," said Amalia Pallares, vice chancellor for diversity, equity and engagement.
UIC and the universities included in the ranking achieved five out of five stars overall and the highest percentage scores on the Campus Pride Index. To earn a five-star ranking, campuses receive scores from 90% to 100% based on their reporting of features inclusive to LGBTQ+ students.
Academics, student life, housing, campus safety, and recruitment and retention efforts are the areas where UIC received five stars. The university also earned high marks for its campus resources, student support services and policy inclusion.
For almost 30 years, the UIC Gender and Sexuality Center has been a campus hub for inclusive programs and resources.
"The latest Campus Pride ranking is in part due to the historical advocacy work of the Gender and Sexuality Center and its various campus partners to create an inclusive environment for LGBTQA2SIA+ students, faculty and staff," said Billy Huff, director of the center. "We recognize that this index is a baseline that challenges us to continue to address the needs of the LGBTQA2SIA+ community on campus and in the community, and a recent campus climate study will help inform the advancement of our services and programs. The work continues."
Additional LGBTQ+ resources available at UIC include the Chancellor's Committee on the Status of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer People; the UIC Bias Reporting Tool; all-gender restrooms; LGBTQ+ inclusive care at UI Health; ally resources and more.
"Earning a spot on Campus Pride's Best of the Best list recognizes an institution's efforts to create a safe and welcoming campus for their LGBTQ+ students, staff and faculty," said Shane Mendez Windmeyer, founder, CEO and executive director of Campus Pride. "In the current climate, in which LGBTQ+ identities have become political talking points and laws are being weaponized against LGBTQ+ people, the commitment to creating campuses that welcome and protect LGBTQ+ students cannot be taken for granted. The colleges and universities that made our list this year deserve this recognition for the efforts they have made and continue to make."