Campus Pride named Kansas State among the top 40 LGBTQ-friendly colleges for the fourth consecutive year because of the campus’s commitment to LGBTQ-inclusion in policy, program and practice.
Campus Pride is an indexing tool that “allows prospective students, families/parents and those interested in higher education to search a database of LGBTQ-friendly campuses who have come out to improve the academic experience and quality of campus life,” according to its website.
K-State also earned a 5-star Campus Pride index score because K-State meets benchmarks in a variety of categories, including policy inclusion, support and institutional commitment, campus safety and more. Campus Pride noted the LGBT Resource Center in its report as well.
“Each year, we bring campus partners together to go over the criteria,” Dr. Brandon Haddock, LGBT resource center coordinator at K-State, said. “Campus Pride has a rather lengthy process for evaluation. It is not an application or anything. What they do is evaluate the campus.”
Haddock said even though K-State received a 5-star rating, there is still work to do.
“I always tell people that a 5-star ranking means that we are attaining some of our goals,” Haddock said. “It does not mean that we are exceeding our goals, and we need to be.”
Anna Casner, president of the Sexuality and Gender Alliance and senior in social work, said she agreed with Haddock that much more can still be done.
“I want us to acknowledge our accomplishments, and acknowledge the resource center for all of the hard work they have done,” Casner said. “At the same time, we can’t stop. We can pause and celebrate, and then we have to push on.”
Casner said she would like the K-State administration to put in more effort towards campus-safety by holding students who are not in the LGBT community accountable for homophobic actions.
While Campus Pride gave K-State a 5/5 rating in the campus-safety category, Casner does not think this rating accurately reflects LGBT safety on campus.
“I think a lot of institutions can approach safety by making a victim put on seven coats of armor, instead of taking the sword away from the people trying to stab them,” Casner said. “Until we have accountability for the people that do racist and homophobic things on campus, they are going to keep happening.”
Katie Hutson, SAGA vice present and senior in English, expressed her frustration with K-State’s administration handling of campus safety for LGBT students, as well.
“The reason we got such a good score [from Campus Pride] is that we have many policies,” Hutson said. “But it doesn’t matter because nobody listens to them. There are no repercussions for people that are homophobic and racist on campus.”
Haddock offered solutions for non-LGBTQ students to support the LGBTQ+ community.
“For those that are non-LGBTQ to recognize that they could help create safe spaces by speaking up and speaking out, that is so extremely important,” Haddock said. “Also, not speaking for [people that are LGBTQ]. If you do not identify as a certain identity, you should not speak for that identity.”
As of now, Haddock has their hands full with plenty of projects to support LGBTQ students on campus.
“Dr. Haddock does a lot with K-State Housing and Dining to make sure [LGBTQ+ students] get accommodations that align with their gender identity, which is important,” Hutson said.
Haddock also works with LGBT resource center staff to reevaluate the status of campus restrooms.
“Accessibility to restrooms is important not only based on gender but also ability,” Haddock said. “We need to make them accessible to everyone on campus.”
Haddock said they want to make sure students feel accepted and comfortable on campus.
“As long as one of our students is not feeling like they are welcome or that they are being accepted on campus, then we are not meeting the needs of our students,” Haddock said.