Tuesday, August 18, 2009

LGBT Rankings

Controversy over school rankings is nothing new, but this year has seen one group focus on a particular set of rankings by the Princeton Review. Princeton Review provides demographic rankings including "Most Religious Students," "Least Race/Class Interaction" and "Gay Community Accepted." Campus Pride, a non-profit aimed at supporting LGBT college students, has released a statement calling the Princeton Review list of schools where there is "very little discrimination against homosexuals" "erroneous" and "misleading" because it is based off of one question and did not involve contacting a significant number of LGBT students.

Princeton Review's senior vice president Robert Franek said in an interview with Inside Higher Ed that the rankings have been praised by many gay groups and he stands by the methodology.

Campus Pride also has a ranking system based off of 32 yes or no questions about the school and campus life covering Policy Inclusion, Support and Institutional Commitment, LGBT Student Life, LGBT Academic Life, LGBT Housing & Residence Life, LGBT Campus Safety, LGBT Counseling and Health and LGBT Recruitment and Retention Efforts. While Princeton was not included on the Princeton Review list, it was one 20 schools of a total of 205 studied to receive 5 out of 5 stars.

Trying to compare the two school lists is difficult however, because Campud Pride does not include many of the schools on the Princeton Review list. We took the Princeton Review top ten list and included the Campus Pride ranking if applicable.

1. New York University (4 out of 5 stars)
2. Stanford University (not ranked)
3. New College of Florida (not ranked)
4. Swarthmore College (not ranked)
5. Emerson College (4 out of 5 stars)
6. Simon's Rock College of Bard (not ranked)
7. Prescott College (not ranked)
8. Wellesley College (not ranked)
9. Malboro College (not ranked)
10. Mount Holyoke College (not ranked)


AC said...

Of course for the rest of us, the big question is WHO CARES?

Emily Rutherford said...

That's because the Campus Pride rankings are in-depth and voluntary, so they proceed on an institution-by-institution basis, adding a few new schools every year.

From the language Princeton Review used, it was pretty obvious they weren't used to confronting LGBT student issues or liaising with LGBT student communities, so I'd advise against anyone taking their rankings seriously. They clearly aren't familiar to any extent with this particular aspect of student life.

I wrote some more about this when the news first broke--and as I said then, the fact that Princeton Review is using language like "discrimination against homosexuals" and "alternative lifestyles" should be a HUGE red flag.

(By the way, for what it's worth, Campus Pride gives Princeton 5/5 stars on its LGBT-Friendly Campus Climate Index.)