Three North Carolina Historically Black Colleges and Universities are on a recent “best of” list for LGBTQ+ campuses.
The Best Colleges Campus Pride Index is a list of the top 10 Historically Black Colleges and Universities for LGBTQ+ students. The list looked at factors such as LGBTQ+ studies programs and course offerings as well as the availability of resource centers and student support services.
North Carolina Central University is number two on the list, North Carolina A&T is number four, and Fayetteville State University is number six.
Eric Martin, coordinator for the LGBTA Resource Center at North Carolina Central University, said over the years, the center’s role on campus has expanded.
“We are now involved more in things like new employee orientation, we’re involved a lot more in departmental trainings with other departments,” Martin explained. “Because the campus knows that we’re here, and they know that we are a resource and because they also value students.”
Martin noted the center is a hub for student activity and open to all. Center sponsored events include an LGBTQ+ Prom, Lavender Graduation, and Transgender Awareness Events.
North Carolina A&T opened an LGBTA center three years ago, but the campus LGBTQA support group known as PRISM goes back over a decade.
Gerald Spates, director of the Office of Intercultural Engagement LGBTA Resource Center at A&T, said many students are now coming to campus with an awareness of the institution’s commitment.
“They’re coming in already aware,” Spates observed. “They’re attracted to the institution, for a lot of reasons, but especially if they’re part of the LGBT community, they want to know that they can be their authentic selves.”
Spates pointed out since the resource center opened at A&T, he has seen just as many allies participate as LGBTQ+ students.
“At LGBTA resource center, I get as many allies, equally when it first opened, as students who are open members of the community, and that’s what I really want it to be,” Spates emphasized. “I want it to be a space that everyone when you enter that space, you feel comfortable, and you feel safe.”
Support for this reporting was provided by Lumina Foundation.
This story was written by Brett Peveto, a producer at the Public News Service, where this story first appeared.