Although it is disappointing to hear AU scored 3.5 of a possible five stars on Campus Pride’s “Campus Climate Index,” a survey of 104 schools’ friendliness toward gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender students, a closer look demonstrates that AU is more inclusive than the numbers suggest.
Surprisingly, it wasn’t Campus Pride that surveyed each institution; according to the organization’s Web site, it was each school’s respective administrators. Nicholas Sakurai, program coordinator of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Ally Resource Center, and Sara Bendoraitis, the GLBTA’s director, evaluated AU.
Sakurai and Bendoraitis ranked AU low on housing and safety. The university’s lack of LGBT floors - which administrators attribute to students’ accepting nature - and slowness to respond to incidents of discrimination seemingly overshadowed the school’s excellent student support organizations, among other successes.
As worrisome as AU’s numerical shortfalls seem, it is good that the university is hard on itself. The marks demonstrate that administrators are aware of the ways they can improve the living environments of LGBT students.
Moreover, we should not be quick to criticize AU for falling behind other schools D.C. area schools Each university evaluated itself differently, and such a comparison does little to address the real issue at hand.
If anything, Campus Pride deserves criticism for administering a survey that gives students a wrong impression. AU is a very LGBT-friendly school, regardless the numbers. There’s room for improvement, but AU should beware of surveys that only serve to undermine years of progress and send wrong signals to prospective students.