Tulane recognized as top 50 LGBT-friendly campus

Amanda Verdi

The Campus Pride Index named Tulane University to its list of the top 50 most LGBT-friendly campuses in the nation last week.

Red Tremmel, director of the Office for Gender and Sexual Diversity, said the ranking means big things for the university and the OGSD office. 

The OGSD at Tulane was established in 2012. Prior to its existence, the Office of Multicultural Affairs encompassed LGBT communities. Tulane had a four-star ranking the first year the office was created, a five-star ranking last year and made its top 50 debut this year.

“I think Tulane has done a lot of great efforts in the past few years to really get to that point,” Ed Pittman, staff advisor for the Office of Gender and Sexual Diversity and the advisor for the Queer Student Alliance, said. 

Pittman credits all-gender bathrooms and changing rooms and the push for all-gender housing as a large factor in Tulane’s rise in rankings.

“When prospective [LGBT] students see that I think that gives a strong signal that this would be a place that they would not only feel safe, but included,” Tremmel said. 

The Campus Pride Index assesses LGBT-friendly policies, programs and practices in order to determine the ranking. The research is conducted for and by LGBT experts in the field of higher education, according to the Campus Pride website.

“When prospective [LGBT] students see that I think that gives a strong signal that this would be a place that they would not only feel safe, but included,” Tremmel said.

Creating a more LGBT-friendly environment at Tulane has been a joint effort among staff, faculty and student volunteers. Tremmel additionally said he attributes the success to those at the university who are so open to development and enthusiastic about making positive changes.

“In a campus that’s predominantly cisgender, straight and white, students who don’t fit into those categories can feel isolated and that can cause stress,” Tremmel said.

Cisgender people identify with the gender on their birth certificate.

Tulane has an array of LGBT programs and events on its calendar for the upcoming academic year. These events include a peer mentoring ambassador program, leadership retreats, safe zone training and roundtable discussions.

Pittman said that even though Tulane has made long strides to make itself a better place for LGBT students, there is still much work to be done. 

“I think it puts a lot of pressure on us to really make sure the support we’re offering and the programs we’re offering live up to that standard and that expectation that incoming students might have,” Pittman said.

Tremmel said he is concerned about what Tulane’s sex-segregated facilities mean to the transgender community and about how to motivate the LGBT mentors and staff to continue working to improve LGBT life at Tulane.

“We have to constantly be striving for excellence throughout the university,” Tremmel said. “I would hope that by having this ranking people don’t become complacent.”