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Leaders show how to build gay-friendly campus

Stonewall survey rates Cardiff and Liverpool John Moores as best for supporting gay, lesbian and bisexual students

Stonewall Diversity Champions rainbow flag

Source: Alamy

Full spectrum: 21 universities were named Stonewall Diversity Champions in recognition of their supportive policies

Cardiff University and Liverpool John Moores University are the UK’s most gay-friendly universities, a study says.

Both institutions scored full marks in an assessment by the gay rights charity Stonewall, which looked at the support available for lesbian, gay and bisexual students and rated procedures to guard against homophobic bullying.

Other institutions that scored highly included the universities of Aberystwyth, Birmingham, Canterbury Christ Church, Cumbria, Derby, Portsmouth, Salford, Surrey and University College London.

Twenty-one universities achieving high scores in the Gay By Degree 2013 ranking were named Stonewall Diversity Champions.

However, the average university score on support for gay people was just 4.5 out of 10, the study says.

Wes Streeting, former president of the National Union of Students and now head of education at Stonewall, said that universities needed to do more to embed policies to protect gay staff and students from discrimination. Only 27 higher education providers have a high-profile anti-homophobic bullying policy accompanied by staff training, he said, but “shockingly” just 14 have sexual orientation monitoring in place.

“If universities aren’t even counting the number of gay students, how can they assure themselves, and prospective applicants, that they are fulfilling their moral and legal duty to provide an inclusive learning experience?” he said.

The study found that 136 universities had a lesbian, gay and bisexual society, although just 40 engaged with the wider community on gay issues.

Trebling tuition fees to £9,000 a year placed even more responsibility on institutions to ensure that they had a supportive atmosphere for gay people, Mr Streeting added. “Higher education providers should provide a high-quality experience for all students, including lesbian, gay and bisexual students.”

He hoped that the list would help gay students to choose a university, he said, and that institutions near the bottom would review their policies.

jack.grove@tsleducation.com

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Readers' comments (2)

  • Leo Loredan

    This is important stuff, we need to ensure our universities are welcoming and safe for all students, but with especial concern for those who will often be bullied and harassed in society.

    However, as to the assessment, I might look more favourably on this, if Stonewall didn't award points to Universities for becoming Stonewall Champions, ie pay Stonewall £2500 pa.

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  • Nice to see some universities doing well (although not enough yet) but, what happened to the 'T' in LGBT? Or is that no longer included in Stonewall's remit? Which would be strange considering the organisation's origins...

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