MSU named best college for LGBTQ+ students in Montana

Monday Jun. 29th, 2020

Montana State University was recently named the best college for LGBTQ+ students in the state of Montana, a recognition made by in partnership with the nonprofit organization Campus Pride. released two rankings – the Best Colleges for LGBTQ+ Students and the Best Colleges for LGBTQ+ Students in Each State – both of which aim to help students of various gender and sexual identities find an inclusive and quality institution for their college journey, according to an accompanying news release. LGBTQ refers to individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and/or questioning. The plus sign in LGBTQ+ is intended to include individuals who identify with other communities, such as intersex, non-binary and pansexual.

The Best Colleges for LGBTQ+ Students ranking recognizes U.S. schools that have established the highest standards for inclusive environments while maintaining strong academic programs for students. The Best Colleges for LGBTQ+ Students in Each State ranking offers a guide for prospective students to identify schools that are culturally inclusive, affordable and closer to their location. The schools featured on the list were vetted by Campus Pride using their knowledge of the LGBTQ+ education landscape.

“Every student deserves to go to a college that is inclusive and a safe space – to learn, live and grow,” said Shane Windmeyer, executive director of Campus Pride. “This June for Pride Month we want to show our campus pride for all the campuses working hard to create safer, more LGBTQ-friendly learning environments.”

In its accompanying write-up about MSU, noted that MSU offers a variety of resources to help LGBTQ+ students succeed. wrote that MSU's Diversity and Inclusion Student Commons features education and advocacy tools for students interested in learning about gender identity issues on campus. It also noted that the university ensures gender-neutral housing and restroom accommodations for LGBTQ+ students, that MSU offers a student support group for LGBTQ+ students and allies who have concerns or questions and that individuals can find incident reporting forms online.

MSU earned four out of five stars on’s Campus Pride Index, which examines colleges and universities’ efforts to create safer, more inclusive campuses. MSU earned especially high scores in LGBTQ+ counseling and health, policy inclusion, housing and residence life, and recruitment and retention efforts. also recognized MSU for planning regular social and educational events centered around LGBTQ+ individuals and issues and for offering specific course listings for LGBTQ+ classes and an LGBTQ+ studies program.

Ariel Donohue, MSU’s senior diversity and inclusion officer, said the recognition from is evidence of MSU’s sustained efforts to foster a diverse and inclusive campus culture.

“This work includes strengthening a sense of belonging amongst LGBTQ+ students, improving training and professional development, examining our practices and offerings, and seeking areas for further growth,” Donohue said. “Thanks to the commitment of many partners across the university and the involvement of student leaders, we will continue to develop this welcoming and affirming community.”

More information about the Campus Pride Index is available at