image of a rainbow flag

Photo by Yenitza Melgoza

August 26, 2022

SIU again earns national recognition for diversity and inclusivity from Campus Pride

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Southern Illinois University Carbondale has once again earned national recognition for its diversity and inclusivity. Campus Pride, a leading LGBTQ+ campus rating and information index, has honored the university among its 2022 “Best of the Best LGBTQ-Friendly Colleges and Universities.”

“We are very proud to again be honored by Campus Pride as one of just 40 ‘Best of the Best LGBTQ-Friendly Colleges and Universities’ in the country,” said Paul Frazier, vice chancellor for anti-racism, diversity, equity and inclusion. “This is a well-deserved recognition of the ongoing campuswide collaboration to establish an inclusive SIU where all students feel safe, welcome and at home. Despite earning this recognition multiple times, we do not rest on our laurels though; we continue to see new and different ways to foster a more inclusive environment for all students.” 

Earned top rank

SIU earned a five-star ranking, the highest possible mark, on the Campus Pride benchmark evaluation of the university’s policies, programs and practices. The university has earned this recognition multiple times, dating back more than a decade, and typically with a five-star designation.

The index features an SIU profile, including details about the wide variety of resources, support, events and activities delivered to students, as well as quotes from students, a campus profile and detailed scoring data.
Campus Pride cited many reasons in recognizing SIU as being an inclusive and LGBTQ+-friendly university for students to attend, one of just three in Illinois. The organization noted 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, which is a unit of the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Anti-Racism, 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. Angela Towne serves as the center’s coordinator.

SIU provides academic, social and physical support

A variety of other SIU initiatives, services and activities were recognized by Campus Pride as well. They include:

  • The Campus Pride Living Learning Community within a University Housing residence hall.
  • Annual LGBTQ+ History Month celebration each October.
  • LGBTQ+ academic studies, including coursework and a minor in Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies.
  • Various student organizations and activities, including the Saluki Rainbow Network and an LGBTQ+ social fraternity/sorority.
  • Regular Safe Zone training sessions.
  • A Queer Mentors program with LGBTQ+ faculty and staff from across campus leading mentor trainings. Juniors are now being recruited as mentors for the coming year.
  • LGBTQ+ student scholarships and a graduation ceremony.
  • Numerous policies and programs to promote nondiscrimination 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.
  • An active LGBTQ+ staff and faculty affinity group and an LGBTQ+ Needs and Assets Planning Committee.
  • Various special activities, including Queer Cinema, held the first Thursday of each month throughout the academic year and weekly during LGBTQ+ History Month. Co-sponsors are from across campus with LGBTQ+ faculty and staff hosting the films and discussions to follow.

Learn more about SIU’s LGBTQ+ Resource Center by visiting the website. Towne also noted that there will be an LGBTQ+ Community Welcome from 2 to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 30, in the Old Main Room at the Student Center, and everyone is welcome.