College receives glowing review, named top LGBTQ-friendly campus in Midwest Region

The LGBT Resource Center located in Holton Hall is an on-campus space offering support and other services to students of the LGBTQ+ community and its allies. (Archive photo by Kaylie McLaughlin | Collegian Media Group)

For the fifth consecutive year, Campus Pride recognized Kansas State’s commitment to the LGBTQ community. The university received the highest-possible Campus Pride Index score – five out of five stars – for its commitment to LGBTQ inclusion, evidenced in policy, practice and programs.

The organization includes K-State on its list of 30 LGBTQ-friendly universities and campuses.

The Campus Pride website highlights the LGBT Resource Center and its dedication to helping students of all sexualities and gender identities. Adam Carr, program administrator for diversity and multicultural student affairs, said the LGBT Resource Center is a vital part of K-State’s recognition.

“The work students do for the center, whether that is housing accommodations, scholarships, mental health support or other various programs, is what sets us apart,” Carr said.

Carr said the Resource Center is a symbol of unity and support for all LGBTQ students. According to Campus Pride, the center is valued for promoting equity, respect and social justice through programs, outreach and education.

“The center, whether students go to it for help or not, shows all LGBT students that they belong,” Carr said.

The rainbow flag displayed in the coordinator’s office window on the second floor of Holton Hall gives students a visual reminder of K-State’s commitment to LGBTQ students.

“Seeing that flag waving in the window of Holton Hall gives students the reassurance that they have a community,” Carr said.

Education also plays a role in allowing LGBTQ students to thrive on campus. K-State’s inclusion and diversity training for students and faculty, as well as its approach to handling situations respectfully, contribute to the five-star rating. Brandon Haddock, student services coordinator of the LGBT Resource Center, helps provide that training.

“Dr. Haddock has done such an amazing job with education that students are comfortable attending school here,” Carr said. “Our LGBTQ+ and allied students have the opportunity to use their voices, sit on committees and speak to classes and donors.”

Some campus faculty members said the high rating and the national recognition are exciting achievements for the college.

“I am proud to be working with such dedicated individuals in our own LGBTQ+ community,” Mirta Chavez, interim associate vice president for student life, said. “It is wonderful to see their work be recognized at such a prestigious level.”

The center also helped create and implement the university’s Chosen Name Policy. According to the university policy and procedures manual, this policy gives students and employees the choice to use a first name other than their legal one.

The policy states that students and faculty can use a shortened derivative of a first name, a middle name instead of a first name, a name that better represents the individual’s identity, a stage name or an English name in place of a non-English name.

“This took quite some time,” Haddock said. “We had a working module that we continued [working on] with several people around campus to make sure that students were capable of coming in and having their name recognized. It took a group of us working out details to make folks feel affirmed in their identity.”

Haddock said developing connections with other universities have allowed K-State to strengthen its LGBTQ awareness and develop new policies.

“I am frequently in conversation with my colleagues across the country who are doing similar work,” Haddock said. “I contact them to ask what they are doing and how they are getting it done, and then other Big 12 [Conference] schools contact me and ask how I got these things done.”

Haddock said the continued recognition as an LGBTQ-friendly campus is all thanks to the support of faculty and administration.