Brian Buford, assistant provost for diversity and director of the UofL LGBT Center
Brian Buford, assistant provost for diversity and director of the UofL LGBT Center

A national nonprofit that rates colleges and universities according to their support of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues has given the University of Louisville its highest ranking among participating public southern institutions.

Campus Pride awarded UofL 4.5 out of five stars in Campus Pride Index 2.0, released this month.

UofL has participated in the Campus Pride Index since 2007, obtaining a five-star rating in 2013 and 2014 and ranking among the top 50 U.S. schools for LGBT inclusiveness. For 2015, the index upgraded and expanded its requirements, causing UofL to fall slightly but to continue a strong showing as one of the top 31 schools in the rankings.

“Our ranking dropped a half-point when the index was revamped for 2015 to include more factors,” said Brian Buford, assistant provost for diversity and director of the UofL LGBT Center. “But even though the bar was set higher, UofL rose to many of those new challenges and will continue to work to achieve lasting change. In reality, we are now part of an even more elite group of schools than when we were a five-star campus.”

One of the items that contributed to UofL’s continued high ranking was the School of Medicine’s groundbreaking pilot program to enhance its curriculum with training in LGBT health care concerns. The pilot is the first in the nation. Another was UofL’s Lavender Graduation, honoring achievements of LGBTQ undergraduate and graduate students receiving degrees.

Among the items on Index 2.0 that the LGBT Center will start exploring as next steps are finding easier ways to change gender markers on university records; encouraging stronger LGBT participation in fraternity/sorority life; and developing trans health benefits for students, Buford said.

Other schools to achieve a 4.5-star ranking this year were the universities of Maryland, Wisconsin, Maine, Minnesota and Oregon, along with New York University, Princeton and Cornell.

For further information and to see all the rankings, visit http://www.campusprideindex.org/.

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Janet Cappiello covers the College of Business, the J.B. Speed School of Engineering, the College of Education and Human Development, the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies, Sustainability Council and military initiatives for the Office of Communications and Marketing. She has more than 30 years’ experience in journalism, including working for The Associated Press and magazines such as Vegetarian Times and Sustainability: The Journal of Record. She has been at UofL since March 2014.