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MSU named most LGBTQ-friendly college in Montana

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From MSU News Service

BOZEMAN — Montana State University was recently named the most LGBTQ-friendly college in the state of Montana. The university also increased its campus pride index score – an LGBTQ national benchmarking tool for colleges and universities to create safer more inclusive campus communities – to four out of five stars.

The rankings were made by BestColleges.com in partnership with the nonprofit organization Campus Pride. The universities featured on the list were chosen based on their inclusion features by a panel of experts from the nonprofit.

In its accompanying write-up about MSU, BestColleges.com noted that MSU offers numerous resources to help LGBTQ+ students succeed. LGBTQ refers to individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and/or questioning. The plus sign in LGBTQ+ is intended to include individuals who identify with other communities, such as intersex, non-binary and pansexual.

“The school has an LGBTQ+ resource directory that offers education, advocacy and support resources for students, including social programs and events hosted through the school’s Diversity and Inclusion Student Commons,” BestColleges.com wrote, adding that the commons creates a safe space for LGBTQ+ students on campus. It also noted that in 2016, MSU also designated 25 gender-neutral restrooms on campus, creating gender-inclusive facilities for students.

The write-up also noted that LGBTQ+ students at MSU can also participate in a mentor program that connects students or take part in multiple student organizations dedicated to LGBTQ+ issues. And the university’s chosen name pilot project is currently testing the capacity for students to use a chosen name for university documents and resources.

Ariel Donohue, MSU’s senior diversity and inclusion officer, said the university’s ranking went up from last year’s three out of five stars to this year’s four-star score due to significant progress in areas such as LGBTQ support and institutional commitment, LGBTQ academic life, housing and residence life, and more.

“The MSU community’s sustained dedication to inclusion is producing real results,” Donohue said. “Our LGBTQ students are more supported and embedded in the MSU community than they have been in the past, and I thank our community of caring individuals working toward a common good. We look forward to continuing to strengthen our support services for all underrepresented students, including those within the LGBTQ community.”

More information about the campus pride index is available at campusprideindex.org/.

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