The University of New Mexico is being nationally recognized for its inclusivity efforts.

It was ranked No. 10 in the nation on the 2018 Most Affordable LGBTQ-Friendly Online Colleges list, and among the top 60 for 2018 Best LGBTQ-Friendly Online Schools.

The rankings are based on the Campus Pride Index, which grades schools based on their tools and resources dedicated to supporting LGBTQ-Friendly policies, programs and practices. The five-star scoring system also looks at breakdowns based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression.

“We are extremely pleased to be recognized for the impressive achievements of our vibrant LGBTQ community at the University of New Mexico,” said Lawrence Roybal, acting vice president for equity and inclusion. “We are proud that UNM is highlighted for the commitment of our students, faculty, staff, alumni, supportive campus allies and community partners to improve the academic experience and promote a healthy and inclusive campus climate.”

One of the reasons UNM is so successful at supporting its inclusivity efforts is because of its plethora of centers dedicated to student success – like the LGBTQ Resource Center, an initiative of the Division for Equity and Inclusion, which opened in August of 2010. It provides a safe zone for people of all identities, gender expressions, sexual orientations and sexualities. In addition, it connects students to resources they may need while at UNM.

“We have worked tirelessly to provide comprehensive LGBTQ services to our students, staff and faculty,” explained Frankie Flores, LGBTQ Resource Center education coordinator. “We honor that everyone holds various identities and in order for UNM to uphold its commitment to diversity, we must see people as their holistic selves.”

The LGBTQ Resource Center is also the campus group that has led an increasingly important initiative now coming to fruition. Years in the making, the Preferred/Affirmed First Name Initiative is making it easier for students, faculty and staff to use their preferred first name in official capacities on-campus. The University recognizes that individuals may prefer to use first names other than their legal ones to identify themselves. The initiative supports not just transgender students, but also people with long names or who go by their middle name. The policy amendment signed by President Abdallah went into effect on Jan. 4 and continues to be rolled out in phases.

“Our affirmed name initiative has grown from having affirmed names on Lobo IDs to having them on diplomas,” added Flores. “Our next steps include enhancing the classroom experience by allowing affirmed first names on class rosters as well as online forums.”

Click here to read more about the Preferred/Affirmed First Name Initiative.

About the LGBTQ Resource Center:
Established in 2010 as part of a student initiative through the UNM Division for Equity and Inclusion, the LGBTQ Resource Center strives to provide a safe environment for people of all gender identities, gender expressions, sexual orientations, sexualities, and other identities. The LGBTQ Resource Center strives to create a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere for all members of the University of New Mexico and surrounding community. As a safe zone environment, we stand up against homophobia and value the worth and dignity of all people. Through education, we aim to bring a heightened visibility of the LGBTQ* community on campus and to issues that affect LGBTQ* individuals. Through leadership development, we promote a more civically engaged campus community committed to equality and equal opportunity for all people.

About the Division for Equity and Inclusion:
The University of New Mexico established the Division for Equity and Inclusion (DEI) in 2007 to strengthen the organizational capacity in order to serve UNM’s diverse student body. DEI provides leadership for addressing institution-wide equity and inclusion and lends its support to student, staff and faculty efforts that build on the university’s diversity initiatives. DEI supports system-wide diversity initiatives to enhance student recruitment and retention, academic excellence, employee diversity and a campus climate that embraces its diversity as an asset. In addition, the Division for Equity and Inclusion is the only university entity of its kind in a very diverse state, serving a diverse student population.