LGBT group releases 'shame list' of religious colleges

A leading LGBTQ non-profit has released a “shame list” of more than 100 schools whose religious affiliations apparently make them “the absolute worst campuses for LGBTQ youth.”

Indeed, the list was released for the explicit purpose of “calling out the harmful and shameful acts of religion-based prejudice and bigotry,” Campus Pride stated in its release.

All 102 colleges on the list have ties to some sort of Christian denomination and, in fact, the sole criterion for making the list was whether or not the school used its religious identity to qualify for a Title IX exemption, meaning the school can continue to enact policies that presume a traditional definition of marriage.

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Campus Pride, though, found these schools worthy of being publicly shamed, calling their “religion-based bigotry” both “careless and life-threatening.”

“LGBTQ young people face high rates of harassment and violence, especially our trans youth and LGBTQ youth of color,” Campus Pride Executive Director Shane Windmeyer wrote in Monday’s press release. “The schools on this list openly discriminate against LGBTQ youth and many of these schools have requested or received Title IX exemptions for no other purpose than to discriminate, expel, and ban LGBTQ youth from campus.”

The non-profit then encourages students who find their campus on the list to contact Campus Pride for help filing a formal complaint with the U.S. Department of Education.

“Families and young people deserve to know that this list of schools are the worst for LGBTQ youth,” Windmeyer continued. “They are not loving, welcoming, safe spaces to live, learn, and grow—and nobody wants to go to a college that openly discriminates against anyone.”

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The Southern Baptist Convention, which is affiliated with several of the more well-known schools such as Liberty University, appears on the list 30 times for its “history of anti-LGBTQ discrimination,” which includes such things as denying tuition discounts to same-sex couples.

Nearly 20 California schools made the list, including Westmont College, where one student described his experience as being so horrible that nobody should ever have to go through it again.

“While they have not applied for a Title IX waiver, it is clear that their past and current policies and practices are anti-LGBTQ,” said Donald Scherschligt, a former student and current organizer with Campus Pride. “Nobody should have to live my experience. I hope this listing will help college like Westmont realize the future is one of inclusion, especially with higher education.”

Campus Pride also releases an annual “Best of the Best” list for schools with the most “LGBTQ-inclusive policies, programs, and practices” with schools like Cornell and Princeton topping the list.

UPDATE: Sing Oldman, executive editor for SBC Life, told Campus Reform that "it's not surprising" so many SBC schools are included on the list, since its confession of faith includes an affirmation that "marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime." 

"The vast majority of Southern Baptists believe the gift of gender and the establishment of marriage are grounded in creation and reaffirmed in the teachings of Jesus and the Apostles, and that these foundational truths are not subject to cultural change," he added, noting that many who do not embrace his faith "assume religious belief is fluid and should adopt itself to social change." 

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