The Absolute Worst Colleges For LGBT Students

"[These schools] use religion as a tool for cowardice and discrimination,” says Campus Pride's Shane Windmeyer.

Last week we shared Campus Pride’s list of the 30 best schools for LGBT youth. Well, now it’s time for the other shoe to drop: The organization has released its “Shame List” of the 102 worst colleges for queer students.

Perhaps not surprisingly almost all of the colleges making the failing grade are religiously affiliated. Most requested Title IX exemptions in order to continue receiving federal funds while still discriminating against students on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, pregnancy or receipt of abortion.

At first those requests were private—often even faculty and students were unaware they were made. But the Department of Education posted the requests online, and Campus Pride staffers pored through reports and files to get a clearer picture.

“Most people are shocked when they learn that there are college campuses still today that openly discriminate against LGBTQ youth. It is an unspoken secret in higher education, how they use religion as a tool for cowardice and discrimination,” said Shane Windmeyer, Executive Director of Campus Pride. “This lists uncovers the religion-based bigotry that is harmful and perpetuated against LGBTQ youth on these campuses.”

Some are small, like Boston Baptist College (enrollment 103), while others, like Brigham Young University (46,000) and Liberty University (enrollment 81,000), are known nationally.

The criterion to be labeled the “absolute worst” campus includes either of the following:

1. A school received and/or applied for a Title IX exemption to discriminate against LGBTQ youth
2. A school has a track record of anti-LGBTQ actions, programs and practices.

Concordia University
Concordia University

Concordia University in California, for example, donated $50,000 to dismantle SB 1146, a California bill designed to protect LGBT students from discrimination at Christian colleges. And Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts, retaliated against a professor who criticized the school’s ban on hiring sexually active LGBT people.

“All families and youth deserve to know this information—and so do corporations who do business with these campuses,” said Windmeyer.

“Those who hire and recruit, vendors who contract food service, sell books, make donations and in any other way provides goods or services to a college or university.”

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.