The University of Central Florida today was named to the Top 50 LGBT-Friendly List of universities and colleges in the nation as chosen by Campus Pride, a national organization that works to create safer campuses for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students.
UCF was the only Florida school out of more than 425 institutions named to the annual list.
The university’s LGBTQ Services began in 2011 to connect the campus’ diverse student population to opportunities, resources and each other.
“We have built a very strong team of support for our LGBTQ+ community,” said Maribeth Ehasz, vice president of Student Development and Enrollment Services. “We have a commitment at the university to actively support and engage our LGBTQ+ students in the UCF experience.”
She credited the new SDES Social Justice and Advocacy Department with Edwanna Andrews as the founding director; a dedicated LGBTQ Services coordinator within SJA; the SGA-supported Pride Commons in Ferrell Commons; and Belinda Boston, assistant vice president in SDES, and Kerry Welch, associate vice president, for carrying forward the university’s vision.
The campus has various services and organizations available for the university’s LGBTQ+ community.
Equal is a registered student organization for students, and the UCF Pride Faculty and Staff Association is dedicated to the university’s goals to be more inclusive and diverse.
The Safe Zone is a series of workshops for those interested in showing support for LGBTQ+ people at the university. There also are at least a dozen single-occupancy bathrooms on campus that are open to people of all genders. Some are marked “gender neutral.”
The nonprofit LGBT-Friendly Campus Pride Index began in 2007 to serve as a benchmark of inclusive policies, programs and practices across the country. For the past seven years, more than 600 colleges and universities have used the online assessment tool to improve safety and overall campus climate for LGBT students.
The top 50 list reflects those colleges and universities on the index achieving the highest ratings across all benchmarks for LGBT-inclusive policies, programs and practices related to gender identity and expression and sexual orientation.