Campus wins 5 stars for LGBT climate

When it comes to providing a safer and more inclusive environment for its lesbian, gay, bisexual students and employees, Berkeley scored a perfect five-star rating in the new Campus Climate Index.

The national index uses a 50-question survey to rank campuses on their policies, programs and practices, and assigns star rankings in categories covering everything from academic programs to institutional commitment to the presence of appropriate restrooms in classroom building and recruiting at LGBT admissions fairs. The 2011 results, listing 286 colleges and universities, were made public this week.

Berkeley was one of 33 schools to win a 5-star rating, and one of five UC campuses. Berkeley earned five stars in seven categories — policy inclusion, support and institutional commitment, academic life, student life, campus safety, counseling and health and recruitment and retention efforts. And the campus scored 4.5 stars for housing and residence life.

This year’s rankings nearly doubled the number of five-star institutions over last August’s index.

The index, launched in 2007, takes into account answers by students, faculty and staff on its online assessment questionnaire, according to its administrators. It is a project of Campus Pride, a national nonprofit advocacy organization working to improve the environment for LGBT students in higher education.

Participation in the index is voluntary, and campuses can choose to make their results public on the Campus Climate Index website — or not. Berkeley’s results are public, and can be seen through a search at campusclimateindex.org (registration required).