Student Services building

September 02, 2021

SIU Carbondale recognized among the best LGBTQ+ U.S. universities

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Southern Illinois University Carbondale has earned national recognition again for its diversity and inclusivity as Campus Pride, a leading LGBTQ+ campus rating and information index, honored the university as a 2021 “Best of the Best LGBTQ-Friendly Campus.”

"We are very proud to be one of just 30 Campus Pride 'Best of the Best LGBTQ-Friendly Colleges and Universities' and the only institution of higher learning in Illinois to earn recognition," said Paul Frazier, vice chancellor for diversity, equity and inclusion. "This is a credit to the ongoing collaborative effort to create an inclusive campus and we will continue to look for ways to foster an even more welcoming, safe and inclusive place for all students to call home."

Earned highest ranking

SIU earned a 5-star ranking on the Campus Pride benchmark evaluation of the university’s policies, programs and practices. The list includes an SIU profile, featuring details about the resources, support, events and activities provided to students, along with quotes from students, a campus profile and detailed scoring data.
Campus Pride cited numerous reasons for recognizing SIU as being an inclusive and LGBTQ-friendly university for students to attend. Included is SIU’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans*, Queer + (LGBTQ+) Resource Center, one of four centers within the university’s Student Multicultural Resource Center. Located in the Student Services Building, the center, a unit of the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is a safe and welcoming space that offers educational outreach, advocacy services and referral information along with support for LGBTQ students, faculty, staff, families, alumni and friends. A new director will soon be in place for the center, according to Frazier.

Academic, social and physical support provided

Other SIU initiatives, services and activities recognized by Campus Pride include:

  • The Campus Pride Living Learning Community at Mae Smith Hall and gender-neutral housing elsewhere on campus.
  • Annual LGBTQ History Month celebration.
  • LGBTQ academic studies, including coursework and a minor in Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies.
  • Saluki Rainbow Network student organization.
  • Regular Safe Zone training sessions.
  • Queer Mentors and Trans*itions programs.
  • Movie nights.
  • Numerous policies and programs to promote non-discrimination and inclusion for everyone, regardless of gender identity/expression.
  • LGBTQ-friendly health counseling, recruitment and retention services programs, policies and activities as well as campus safety and residence life policies and support.