New Mexico State University has been awarded 4.5 out of 5 stars in its latest ranking for being a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender friendly school by campuspride.org. The university began as a 2.5-star school in 2009.
The Campus Pride Index allows prospective students to compare colleges and universities on LGBT friendliness and policies. It serves as a tool for assisting campuses in ways to improve campus life and shape the educational experience to be more inclusive, welcoming and safe for LGBT students and their allies. NMSU was the first school in New Mexico to take part in the survey.
“Being on the campus pride index puts NMSU on the map,” said Jessica Spohn, coordinator for the Sexual and Gender Diversity Resource Center. “By being on this site, it’s another way to attract students. It proves that NMSU is somewhere that’s friendly, that may be far away from home, but students are able to find a home here, just as I did.”
Now listed as a premier school, the university can be seen at the top of the list in the southwest. NMSU ranks in the same category as many of its peer institutions such as Colorado State University and Iowa State University.
NMSU made 5 stars in LGBT recruitment and retention efforts and counseling and health. Some areas in which the campus excels are campus safety, academic life and support and institutional commitment.
Areas of improvement include creating an active alumni group, providing insurance coverage for students transitioning from male to female or female to male to cover hormone replacement therapy and allowing accessibility to change name and gender identity on university documents.
Spohn added that NMSU's employee benefits help the university stand out in the index from other universities. The campus health center has agreed to help teach students with hormone replacement prescriptions how to self inject.
Throughout the fall and spring semesters the NMSU Sexual and Gender Diversity Resource Center is open to assist students, faculty and staff. The center also hosts an event each semester, National Coming Out Day in October and GLBTQ Week in the spring.
“We want students to know you can be many identities, can participate in all of them,” Spohn said. “Society already puts us in these boxes, why not embrace all of them?”
Information from NMSU