Gonzaga Receives 4.5 stars in Campus Pride Index

A logo that states four-and-a-half stars Campus Pride Star Rating 2023

February 05, 2024
Sydney Fluker ('24)

Gonzaga University received a 4.5 out of 5 stars from the 2023 Campus Pride Index, a ranking of how schools support their LGBTQ+ communities, making Gonzaga the highest-rated Catholic institution, the second-highest-rated university in Washington state and top five in the country for any religious-affiliated university.

“Having a good rating on something like the Campus Pride Index gives the university visibility that this can be a safe place for students,” says Jamie Bartlett, director of GU’s Lincoln LGBTQ+ Resource Center.

She says students might not consider a religious institution welcoming to LGBTQ+ students, nor know where to learn that information, and highlighting the Campus Pride Index ranking can help. “There’s value in that, for a university like us where it wouldn’t be assumed that you would be comfortable or safe.”

According to Matthew Barcus, the Lincoln LGBTQ+ Center’s program manager, Gonzaga first applied to be ranked by the Campus Pride Index in 2021, when it received a 4-star rating.

Upon reapplying earlier this year, Gonzaga’s rating was moved up half a star, which Bartlett says is likely as high as Gonzaga will get. The areas that preclude Gonzaga from receiving the highest rating are centered around health services.

After receiving their original results, Bartlett and Barcus returned to the drawing board to see where they could fill in deficits. Creating the Lavender Alumni Community, general policy updates and women, gender, and sexuality studies becoming its own major helped Gonzaga earn that extra half-star.

“We weren’t sure if we would get a bump in score, but it was worth at least putting it out there so that any material online would be updated,” Bartlett says.

“It was quite exciting [to get the results] because anytime you can show that things are moving in a positive direction is a good thing … I don’t know if we would have been shocked if [the rating] didn’t change, but we were pretty pumped.”

Bartlett and Barcus are using the rating to figure out where the Center goes next. Expanding living learning communities is a part of the Strategic Plan, so Bartlett plans on gauging student interest around creating an LGBTQ+ LLC, which could influence Gonzaga’s LGBTQ Housing & Residence Life rating. The Center is also zoning in on the LGBTQ Recruitment & Retention rating. Bartlett said the Center is looking at participating in LGBTQ+ admission fairs and having conversations with alumni on creating a scholarship for queer students.

Bartlett said the Center included a walkthrough of the rating on its website to explain why certain ratings weren’t achieved, or where it is in the process of reaching those goals. For a walkthrough of the rating, visit the Campus Pride Index overview on the Lincoln LGBTQ+ Center website.

Looking forward, the Center will offer programming options throughout the semester.

The Center is hosting a Queer Book Fair on Feb. 8, when it will take over the Hemmingson Rotunda for the day to enact their take on a college-level Scholastic Book Fair.

Students will be able to browse books from all genres, whether they have queer topics or are written by a queer author. Some books will boast faculty and staff recommendations, and students will be able to purchase or rent available books. There will also be visual displays about banned books and other hot topics.

During the book fair, the Center will be hosting a Queer Madness Bracket with books from the fair, with nonfiction and fiction going head to head until one book remains. Voting will be available on the Center’s Instagram @gulgbtq or in person at the fair from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Center recently worked with Foley Library to launch its online library, which will allow students to browse and check out the Center’s literature options. Bartlett said they have also been collaborating with Foley librarians to set up queer LibGuides in Foley, one which shows the available books in the Center and one which shows the books at the fair.

Bartlett is working on organizing a number of programs for April regarding LGBTQ participation in sports at the youth and collegiate level. She is arranging speakers from different industries surrounding the topic including athletes, journalists, filmmakers and business professionals. More information will be available soon.

The Center will also support Gonzaga Law with its LGBTQ law summit on April 19.

“This wasn’t a sudden thing we did. This has been a long-term build,” Bartlett says of the Campus Pride Index improvement. “Things move slowly everywhere. When people look at the website and see where we’ve been successful, know that success took a long time.”

Learn more about LGBTQ+ communities on campus