Rutgers Tops List as One of Best Colleges for LGBT Students
Academic institutions are recognized for taking steps to create environments and policies that meet the needs of students with a wide variety of gender and sexual identities, but some groups still lag behind.
Rutgers, however, ranks above the average in providing services to every sexual identity, according to a recent article in bestcolleges.com. The University was one of the top colleges in the nation for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students.
Edward Norgard, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore, believes Rutgers definitely deserves this spot on the list of schools that cater to the needs of LGBT students.
“Rutgers is an extremely diverse community with people from every walk of life, every ethnicity and every orientation. Being at Rutgers definitely gives queer students, like myself, the security and comfort needed to learn,” Norgard said.
In a recent survey taken by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, 43 percent of LGBT faculty members and students reported they consider their campus to be homophobic, but Norgard’s experience has been different. He said he has always felt welcomed and safe at Rutgers.
“I’ve never experienced any malice from a student for my sexuality,” Norgard said. “There’s never a moment at school where I question my safety because I am gay.”
Vingie Magdael, a School of Arts and Sciences senior, said Rutgers deserves to be on the list for the many resources the school has to offer for LGBT students such as the Center of Social Justice Education and gender-neutral housing.
“When I entered Rutgers I would have never thought that I would find a club that would fit both my Asian and gay identity,” Magdael said. “So I think because of people trying to fit into their own identities is how we have so many organizations for everyone.”
Many of these organizations are open to both LGBT students and their allies.
The Delta Lambda Phi fraternity has also influenced Rutgers through its help in raising awareness for LGBT identities.
Abraham Linares, a School of Arts and Science junior and a brother of the DLP fraternity, said that his fraternity is dedicated to creating friendly social spaces for gay and bisexual men.
“What DLP does is offer a safe space for LGBTQ-identified men in greek life,” Linares said. “We always make sure that there is a safe space for all of our rushes, pledges and members.”
Throughout the year, DLP holds many events that welcome everyone regardless of their sexual identity.
Magdael said if Rutgers wants to maintain their current ranking, they should continue to provide support of LGBT identities and extend gender neutral housing to more dorms, if not all.
“It’s a great thing that our school and its students are so accepting of our differences,” Norgard said. “I’m truly grateful to Rutgers and my peers for allowing me to finally be myself.”