WSU ranks high for LGBT student inclusion, safety

GIESORC anniversary

PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University ranks as one of the best universities in the nation for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students.

Campus Pride, a nonprofit organization dedicated to making colleges and universities safer, more inclusive spaces for LGBT individuals, this week released its annual nationwide list, “Top 25 LGBT Friendly Colleges and Universities.” It is the first time WSU has been included.
“I am proud of the work we have done as a campus and community to address the needs and concerns of our LGBT students,” said Heidi Stanton Schnebly, director of WSU’s Gender Identity Expression and Sexual Orientation Resource Center (GIESORC).
GIESORC is celebrating its 20th anniversary at WSU this year. 
“Our theme is ‘20 Years of Opening Doors to a Future of Possibilities,’” said Stanton Schnebly.  “This honor really speaks to what we have accomplished over the years and our excitement about continuing this work into the future.” 
Campus Pride determined the rankings by analyzing data gathered from a 50-question survey completed by participating colleges/universities. The survey asked about LGBT policy inclusion, support and institutional commitment, academic life, student life, housing, campus safety, counseling and health, and recruitment and retention efforts.
Campus Pride’s index is the only one of its kind, according to Shane Windmeyer, the group’s executive director.
“Unlike other commercially driven rankings, our ratings are done for and by LGBT people and set in a foundation of solid research practice,” he told the Huffington Post online news site and blog.
Each school included in the listing achieved 5 stars overall in the index, plus 5 stars in sexual orientation and 5 stars in gender identity/expression. In addition, the schools had to have 4.5 stars or above (or the highest percentages) in all LGBT-friendly factors.
Stanton Schnebly said being included in the top 25 will help WSU attract new LGBT students.
“I know that parents are using Campus Pride rankings as a tool for searching for safe campuses for their LGBT students,” she said.
While Stanton Schnebly is proud of WSU’s accomplishments, she is quick to point out that more can be done to make LGBT students welcome and successful. For example, she would like WSU to follow the lead of Washington community colleges in allowing students to indicate their gender identity or sexual orientation on the university application. Also, she said work is continuing with the WSU student health advisory board to provide health insurance coverage for transgender students.
WSU is one of five universities from the Pacific Northwest in the top 25. Others include Portland State University, Southern Oregon University, University of Oregon (UO) and University of Washington (UW). WSU joins UW, UO, the University of Southern California and Stanford in representing the Pac-12 conference on the list. 
To view all schools in the top 25, visit
For more information about the 20-year anniversary, visit