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Campus Life

University receives five-star rating for LGBTQ inclusivity

The Campus Pride Index rated the University of Rochester five stars for being LGBTQ-friendly in the areas of support and institutional commitment, academic life, housing and residence life, campus safety, and counseling and health. (University of Rochester illustration / Michael Osadciw)

The Campus Pride Index ranked Rochester among the nation’s best for making the educational experience welcoming and respectful for all.

The University of Rochester has scored five out of five stars on the Campus Pride Index (CPI) for LGBTQ inclusivity, putting it at the top of the list among some of America’s most prestigious universities.

The CPI is the premier LGBTQ national benchmarking tool for colleges and universities to create safer, more inclusive campuses.

Campus Pride index badge graphic that says "LGBTQ-friendly campus, five out of five stars, campus pride star rating 2023" and recognizes LGBTQ inclusivity at Rochester.Each campus page on the Campus Pride Index offers an “LGBTQ-friendly report card,” offering 50 areas in which a college or university can receive a checkmark for inclusivity. Rochester checked 49 boxes—more than any other institution on the Consortium on Financing Higher Education (COFHE) or the Association of American Universities (AAU), and the second most among 259 colleges and universities reviewed.

Rutgers University received a perfect 50 checkmarks, while Rochester, the University of Texas–Dallas, and the University of North Florida received 49. Most of the categories focused on Rochester’s River Campus, but some were University-wide.

“We’re excited that students searching for inclusive institutions will find us near the top of the list,” says Col Raimond, director of LGBTQ life at the College. “The University has been steadfast in its dedication to LGBTQ inclusivity. Over my six years here, I’ve seen significant and meaningful changes to both infrastructure and the student life experience.”

The Campus Pride Index is a vital tool for assisting campuses in improving LGBTQ campus life and making the educational experience more inclusive and respectful of LGBTQ. The index is owned and operated by Campus Pride, the leading national nonprofit organization for student leaders and campus groups working to create safer, LGBTQ-friendly environments at colleges and universities.

The index tool has been used since 2001 and was updated with higher LGBTQ national benchmarks in 2015.

Inclusive programs, policies, and practices

Rochester scored five stars for the LGBTQ community in the areas of support and institutional commitment, academic life, housing and residence life, campus safety, and counseling and health.

“Campus Pride applauds the work of the University of Rochester to achieve five out of five stars on the Campus Pride Index,” says Shane Mendez Windmeyer, CEO and founder of Campus Pride. “We honor its accomplishment and encourage every campus to continue taking responsibility for its LGBTQ+ students and creating a safe learning environment.”

Rochester’s improvements are widespread:

  • Students can input a preferred first name that is different from their legal first name directly into UR Student, with the information updated directly in Blackboard, the University’s Learning Management System, and other campus databases and outlets.
  • All gender multi-stall restrooms are mixed in with gendered restrooms in residence halls on the River Campus.
  • University Health Service has a provider which can prescribe hormone replacement therapy, while the Counseling Center has LGBTQ counselors on staff.

Other programs, policies, and practices at Rochester also contributed to the Campus Pride Index rating. For example, about 825 students—roughly 12.2 percent of undergraduates at Rochester—are involved in fraternities and sororities, according to John DiSarro, director of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs. Two such organizations—Lambda Sigma Upsilon and Sigma Psi Zeta—are inclusive of non-binary students while several are considered trans-friendly.



Participation in student organizations is a hallmark of the campus experience; non-binary and gender expansive people also can join many of Rochester’s a cappella groups and club sports. Meanwhile, the annual LGBTQ meet-and-greet—a fall reception where University students meet other LGBTQ students, faculty, and staff–has grown from 50 students to more than 250, and the Rainbow Graduation, which celebrates participating LGBTB graduates annually around commencement.

Dan Watts, executive director of the Office for Residential Life and Housing Services, says “a lot of work by a lot of people over a lot of years” went into improving the student experience, and he’s proud that his office is among the leaders.

“Residential Life has a gender-inclusive housing policy,” Watts says. “Any student can choose to live with any other student as long as the request is mutual. That means we don’t require roommates to share the same gender identity. When randomly assigning roommates, we rely on the gender that they indicate on their housing application.”

Watts says most housing areas on the River Campus include all-gender restroom facilities, and some, such as in Genesee Hall, offer single-user restrooms.

He says his department’s goal is simple: “housing equals home.” And that applies to every student.

“Students should be able to live in a place that meets their most basic needs without having to face hurdles and barriers,” Watts says. “We do a lot of staff training, student programming, and providing support services that emphasize diversity, equity, and inclusion. Being able to provide living spaces that support students being their authentic selves is an important way to give real meaning to what would otherwise just be words.”

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