UT Ranks Most LGBTQIA+ Hostile College in National Survey

Princeton Review compiled survey results from a total of 16,000 students in 388 schools. The survey includes 85 questions in four sections.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The University of Tennessee just welcomed a record number of students to campus. It was also ranked as the most hostile college for LGBTQIA+ students in the country. by The Princeton Review.

Since 1992, The Princeton Review has been an authoritative source of information helping college students decide where they want to study. It ranks universities on a variety of topics such as their value to students and the academic quality of the schools.

They collect the opinions. of college students in the US Students can submit a survey at any time, but The Princeton Review will only accept one survey per student per year. The survey has 80 questions divided into four main sections: “About you”, “Academics/administration of your school”, “Students” and “Life in your school”.

In the 2023 version of Best 388 Colleges, UT was labeled the most LGBTQIA+ unfriendly. It outperformed universities like BYU in Utah, the University of Notre Dame and the University of Alabama.

“It’s not surprising to any of us who live in the community,” said RJ Powell, a chaplain who works with students through Tyson House Episcopal and Lutheran Campus Ministry.

In August 2020, it was also ranked as the second worst university for LGBTQIA+ students. The university has landed on the list for several years in a row. His Pride Center has been threatened, downsized, and regrown in hopes of helping more students in the future.

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And for many years, students have watched the state legislature crack down on inclusion on campus. Tennessee lawmakers defunded the Pride Center in 2016 after controversies over pronouns. Officials also put tough restrictions on how the university could spend money on inclusion.

The law, which went into effect without former Gov. Bill Haslam’s signature, reallocated funds from the Diversity and Inclusion Officer and turned them into a new scholarship fund. It also did not allow any funding or resources to go to “the use of gender-neutral pronouns, to promote or inhibit the celebration of religious holidays, or to finance or support sex week.”

Then-Chancellor Jimmy Cheek denounced the state’s decision, which eliminated the Pride Center as an office on the UT campus because it could no longer have professors running it. In the years after the law passed, the Pride Center was able to raise its own funds and hire staff.

But also in 2016, the UT Pride Center was smashed several times. In a high-profile incident in 2016, she had a rock thrown through her windows with a note containing a threatening message. with an insult.

UT President Randy Boyd has also donated to Senator Mark Pody in 2021. The senator has been publicly against LGBTQIA+ rights and introduced proposals to strip LGBTQIA+ people of marriage rights. He has since apologized for the donation.

“We hear about the discrimination, the hate, the open homophobia, the racism that is literally being thrown out of car windows as I walk across campus from time to time,” Powell said.

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Since then, the university said it has worked to be more inclusive on campus. The Pride Center has secured additional funding and also hosts many events, such as annual “Friends Day” events, while working to educate people about LGBTQIA+ health.

“We know so many people who have worked so hard for LGBTQIA+ inclusion on campus,” Powell said. “As dark as it may seem, sometimes we know we didn’t stand alone.”

A UT spokesperson issued a statement regarding the university’s ranking. A portion is available below.

“We are committed to being a campus where everyone feels welcome, valued and supported. The Princeton Review survey does not accurately reflect the progress we have made and the important work that continues on our campus.”