Campus Pride Blog

Campus Pride successful in changing “Alternative Lifestyle” Princeton Review list wording but cites Princeton Review as ‘not a credible, national resource on LGBT higher education issues’

cci_logo_stacked_clr.img_assist_custom.jpgNational LGBT organization still cautions using the Top 20 LGBT-friendly list due to flawed methodology; instead encourages referencing the Princeton Review list with the comprehensive Campus Pride Climate Index ratings available without charge online

(Charlotte, NC) – Campus Pride, a national non-profit working to create safer, more LGBT-inclusive colleges and to build future LGBT and ally leaders, is pleased with the Princeton Review’s decision to change problematic wording in its list title regarding LGBT acceptance and safety on college campuses in the release of “The Best 373 Colleges” (Random House/Princeton Review, $22.99). Despite the change in language, however, Campus Pride continues to caution parents, families and LGBT students on Princeton Review’s rankings, which include no comprehensive review of LGBT campus climates, policies or practices, and urges the use of its far more detailed and free of charge online LGBT-Friendly Campus Climate Index (www.campusclimateindex.org).

Each year, Princeton Review publishes its lists of the 300-some best colleges in the nation and includes lists of campuses where LGBT students are either most or least accepted. As per the recommendation of Campus Pride, the old lists, titled “Gay Community Accepted” and “Alternative Lifestyle Not An Alternative”, have been changed to “LGBT-Friendly” and “LGBT-Unfriendly.”

The change comes four years after repeated requests by Campus Pride to change the problematic wording. In addition, Campus Pride in partnership with other national organizations also successfully persuaded Princeton Review to change the non-inclusive and outdated wording in the question on LGBT acceptance it asks students. The old question – “Is there very little discrimination against homosexuals?” – was replaced with: “Do students, faculty, and administrators at your college treat all persons equally regardless of their sexual orientations and gender identity/expression?”

“Campus Pride is pleased that the Princeton Review decided to change not only the question it asks students but the title it gives its two lists, although we still have many concerns regarding the company’s approach, overall LGBT knowledge base and commitment to detail,” said Windmeyer, author of “The Advocate College Guide for LGBT Students” (Allyson Books, 2006), the first-ever guide profiling the 100 Best LGBT-Friendly Colleges.

Read more after the jump…

Windmeyer believes Princeton Review’s LGBT-Friendly and Un-Friendly lists are largely inaccurate, as they lack any substantial research or verification on campus policies, programs and practices.

“What you have is this national review organization creating this Top 20 list, when they have neither the authority nor education on these issues,” Windmeyer said. “Princeton Review creates these arbitrary Top 20 lists based on subjective questioning and no data to back it up, and for years now the Princeton Review couldn’t even get the wording right. Exactly why are they to be trusted as a source for what is or is not LGBT-friendly?”

Last year, Windmeyer publicly challenged Princeton Review’s wording and approach in a guest commentary published by The Advocate, the nation’s largest LGBT newsmagazine. Windmeyer outlined Princeton Review’s troubling language and its flawed methodology, writing:

“The guide uses a simplistic and inappropriate methodology, coupled with offensive language, to determine the gay-friendliness of college campuses, making the guide an outdated effort regarding what matters most to LGBT students…[T]he listings are based on respondents’ agreement or disagreement with a single statement: ‘Students, faculty, and administrators treat all persons equally regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity/expression.’ Of course, the majority of students responding to such a question — irrespective of response — will be straight. Their perceptions of equality are likely quite different from those of LGBT students.”

You can read the full commentary as it was originally published at: www.advocate.com/Society/Education/Princeton_Review_s_Approach_is_Outdated/.

Campus Pride remains vigilant in its encouragement for Princeton Review to update both its methodology and approach, or partner with the organizations which have both the experience and knowledge to adequately address LGBT issues on college campuses.

Windmeyer concluded: “I would suggest that if the Princeton Review can’t get it right, then don’t do it. Princeton Review is not a credible, national resource on LGBT higher education issues — that is clear.”

To learn more about Campus Pride programs and services – including its forthcoming national LGBT climate research report “State of Higher Education for LGBT People” and its 2010-11 LGBT-Friendly College Fair Program — please visit www.CampusPride.org or email info@campuspride.org.

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