‘Gay-friendly’ universities highlighted in Stonewall guide (UK)

By David Matthews

Stonewall, the equality charity, has published its latest guide to the universities it considers to have the most gay-friendly policies and support for students. The Gay By Degree guide rates universities on a list of 10 criteria, including whether they have specific events, career advice or welfare support for lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) students.

University College London and the universities of Aberystwyth and Portsmouth succeeded on all 10 criteria for the second year running, according to the report. Meanwhile, Liverpool John Moores University and the universities of Cardiff, Glasgow and Salford scored 10 out of 10 for the first time.

The guide also rates universities on whether they have a policy against LGB bullying; compulsory staff training on LGB issues; an LGB society; information on LGB issues; a Stonewall Diversity Champion; consultation with LGB students; and an LGB staff network. In addition, it provides information on applications, tuition fees and accommodation.

Ben Summerskill, Stonewall’s chief executive, said that for gay applicants finding a “gay-friendly” university created an additional challenge. “While many lesbian, gay and bisexual students have a positive and welcoming university experience, recent research has shown that almost half have also experienced negative treatment from students because of their sexual orientation,” he said.

Wes Streeting, a former president of the National Union of Students and now head of education at Stonewall, said: “Finding a good uni is challenging, and we’re delighted to be there to help people make their choice. “This year we also hope current students use the guide as a way to encourage universities to improve what they’re doing to support gay people,” he added. This is the third year in which the Gay by Degree guide has been published. It does not explicitly rank universities against one another.

Source: Times Higher Education http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=26&storycode=420376&c=1