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The Philly Pride Parade is hosted every summer just outside Penn's campus in Center City.

Credit: Ilana Wurman

Penn is the most LGBTQ-friendly Ivy, according to Campus Pride, an organization that tracks university acceptance of the LGBTQ community.

On Tuesday, Campus Pride released its top 25 LGBTQ-Friendly “Best of the Best” colleges and universities, with Penn earning a top score in the Campus Pride Index, as well as being part of the top 25.

Campus Pride Index is the “premier LGBTQ national benchmarking tool for colleges and universities to create safer, more inclusive campus communities,” according to its website, and it ranks colleges and universities through a stringent set of categories and rules.

Penn was one of only three Ivy League schools that made the list. By .5 points, Penn beat out Princeton and Cornell in the Campus Pride Index, an “overall indicator of institutional commitment to LGBTQ-inclusive policy, program and practice” according to the website. Penn earned a total of 5 out of 5 stars measured by the index, the highest overall score possible.

Only six other universities out of the 25 received a five-star rating. Penn was joined at the top by Indiana University, Bloomington, Montclair State University, Rutgers University, University of Massachusetts and the University of Washington.

While Penn received the highest overall rating possible, it didn’t receive perfect marks in all categories. LGBTQ Academic Life received 4 out of 5 stars, while LGBTQ Support & Institutional Commitment and LGBTQ Recruitment & Retention Efforts both received 4.5 out of 5 stars.

But no institution is perfect, and Penn’s high ranking indicates that while it still has room to improve, it is already ahead of its peers.

“There are still only about 225 colleges and universities that have professionally staffed LGBT centers,” Director of the LGBT Center Bob Schoenberg said. “And that’s out of 4,000-plus colleges and universities.” Still, he recognized that “most have some kind of a student organization” for LGBTQ students.

There are a number of reasons why Penn received such a high rating, from the presence of a professionally staffed LGBT center, to its anti-discrimination policies, to courses that address LGBTQ issues. While many of Penn’s LGBTQ friendly aspects are simple, they add up. Around 200 factors were used to evaluate universities.

This is not the first time that Penn has made the Campus Pride List, and the university has a history of being highly ranked by the organization, albeit using different ratings.

“Ten years ago we were one out of two that got 20 out of 20,” Schoenberg said.

Penn’s five out of five ranking is relevant in that “being perceived as LGBT-friendly is important to people recruiting high quality employees and students,” Schoenberg said.

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