In August 2023, Campus Pride made the difficult decision to exclude colleges and universities in Florida and Texas from the Best of the Best LGBTQ-Friendly Colleges and Universities list, regardless of their ranking on the Campus Pride Index. This decision was made after the passage of laws in both states that effectively prohibit colleges and universities from operating LGBTQ+ inclusive programs and other diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. The inevitable — and intended — consequence of these laws will be to eliminate the types of LGBTQ-friendly policies, programs and practices that we ask about and evaluate on the Campus Pride Index.
Many campuses in Florida and Texas have previously demonstrated a commitment to LGBTQ+ inclusion — in some cases, these colleges have had a long-standing commitment that earned them inclusion on previous Best of the Best lists. However, the new laws will negatively impact their ability to continue to offer LGBTQ+ inclusive programs and services and to foster safe, welcoming environments for LGBTQ+ students.
Four universities were excluded from the 2023 Best of the Best LGBTQ-Friendly listing due to anti-LGBTQ state laws, but would otherwise have been included:
- University of Texas at Dallas (Richardson, TX)
- Texas Tech University (Lubbock, TX)
- University of Central Florida (Orlando, FL)
- University of North Florida (Jacksonville, FL)
Campus Pride concluded that we could not recommend the excluded universities on the “Best of the Best” list; however, these Florida and Texas campuses still appear on the Campus Pride Index (CPI) with their respective star ratings, along with others from the two states. We anticipate that when colleges update their profiles on the CPI, the new restrictions will result in lower ratings for all Texas and Florida colleges and universities, unless these campuses find other funding sources for LGBTQ+ support programs and services.
“Campus Pride stands by every campus being negatively impacted by anti-LGBTQ+ laws in the states of Florida and Texas. Higher education must instill values of diversity and inclusion in order to create a quality, productive workforce. The classroom must be safe, and create a welcoming academic learning environment,” said Campus Pride Founder, CEO and Executive Director Shane Mendez Windmeyer. “These laws are being weaponized against LGBTQ+ people, needlessly endangering the safety and well-being of students on campuses across the states of Florida and Texas. Already we are hearing from prospective students and families that they are choosing colleges elsewhere.”
Prospective students and families are strongly encouraged to research state laws in their college search process. To learn more about the status of existing and prospective laws targeting the LGBTQ+ population, visit the Movement Advancement Project’s website and view their detailed Equality Maps at lgbtmap.org/equality-maps.)
- Read Campus Pride’s full press release on our blog.
Learn more about the laws
Florida’s S.B. 266
- Equality Florida: 2023 Equality Florida Legislative Slate
- ACLU Florida: HB 999/SB 266 – HIGHER EDUCATION CENSORSHIP AND GOVERNMENT CONTROL BILL