Miami Rates Highly on Campus Pride Index

LGBTQ-Friendly Campus. Campus Pride. 4.5 out of 5 stars. Campus Pride Star Rating. 2023.Miami University recently earned 4.5 out of 5 stars on the overall campus pride index through the national nonprofit organization Campus Pride. Campus Pride publishes a tool to help prospective students and families find LGBTQ-friendly colleges and universities. 

Before this year, Miami had earned 4 out of 5 stars.

The rating is calculated based on a list of inclusion factors for both sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. Factors are broken down further into categories such as policy, commitment, academic life, student life, housing, safety, counseling and health, and recruitment and retention.

April Callis, Associate Director of LGBTQ+ Initiatives, attributes this year’s higher rating in part to some of the work being done in the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion (CSDI). “One of the first charges given to me when I started in this position in May of 2021 was to get Miami rated on the Campus Pride Index, and then to strategize ways to move our institution forward," said Callis. "While there is still work to be done, we’re excited to see the changes that have been implemented all across campus.”

In the past year and a half, the CSDI provided trainings focused on LGBTQ+ active allyship to the president’s executive cabinet, student health services, the Miami University police department, student counseling services, Miami’s coaching staff, and the staff of admissions. A generous grant from the Miami women’s giving circle allowed the CSDI to create an identity library, including numerous books on LGBTQIA+ identities. The CSDI is also now offering monthly free and anonymous HIV testing through a partnership with Caracole. And finally, an LGBTQ+ emergency fund has been created, to help students with immediate financial needs.

Outside of the CSDI, student initiatives and campus partners have also been important in moving Miami forward on the Campus Pride Index. The creation of oSTEM, a student organization for LGBTQ+ students within STEM fields, and FUSE, a group for LGBTQ students of color, have allowed more students to find community. Student counseling service’s LGBTQ support group, lavender connections, has helped students find space to discuss their identities and the process of coming out. And the upcoming climate study from the office of institutional diversity and inclusion, which includes numerous questions on gender identity and sexual orientation, will allow Miami to gather current data on the experiences and needs of LGBTQ+ students, faculty, and staff.

The Campus Pride Index is often the first place that LGBTQ+ high school students go when researching potential colleges. Callis notes that prospective students regularly ask about specific points from the Index, and cite it as part of their college decision making process. 

“The Campus Pride Index helps prospective and incoming students to get an idea of what to expect at Miami University,” said Callis. “So a 4.5 star rating provides all of us with two challenges moving forward. How can we, as an institution, live up to the expectations that our incoming students will have based on our new, higher score? And also, how can we all turn our gaze towards providing a 5 star experience to our LGBTQ+ community here at Miami?”