Campus Pride – the leading national nonprofit organization for student leaders and campus organizations working to create safer, more LGBT-friendly colleges and universities – issued a warning to students on Thursday that urges college applicants to exercise caution in consulting the Princeton Review’s “Top 20 Gay Community Accepted” and “Alternative Lifestyle Not an Alternative” rankings in the 2010 edition of the Princeton Review’s annual college guide, The Best 371 Colleges (Random House/Princeton Review, $22.99)
The problematic rankings “could potentially lead to harmful, unsafe choices for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) students looking for acceptance and support during college,” Campus Pride cautioned. The organization said that Princeton Review’s methodology in collecting and analyzing its data was too simplistic:
The criteria that Princeton Review used to determine the best LGBT ‘acceptance’ at colleges was not based on significant LGBT student opinions or research related to inclusive LGBT policies, programs, or practices as one might expect. Their rankings were based off one single question asked to 122,000 students at the 371 top colleges – whether they agreed or disagreed with the following statement: ‘Students, faculty, and administrators treat all persons equally regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity/ expression.
Shane Windmeyer, founder and executive director of Campus Pride went on to note that “The majority of students responding to such a question – irrespective of response – will be straight. Their perceptions of equality are likely quite different from those of LGBT students.”
Campus Pride also admonished the Princeton Review’s use of the outdated, offensive phrase, "alternative lifestyle" in its report. “It’s disrespectful and out-of-touch because it alludes that being gay is a choice and something that can be cured,” Windmeyer explained.
GLAAD works closely with media outlets and various organizations to educate communication professionals and others about problematic language and specifically cites the term “lifestyle” as offensive in our Media Reference Guide. Similarly, The Associated Press, The New York Times, and The Washington Post all direct reporters to avoid using the term “lifestyle.”
GLAAD is working with Campus Pride to urge Princeton Review editors to reexamine their ‘Top 20’ lists in hopes of providing a fair and accurate revision in the near future.
GLAAD also encourages college journalists to consult our College Media reference Guide.