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    Camp on campus

    The Advocate‘s publishing arm is getting into the college rankings act (via Michael):

    Since 1992, the Princeton Review, has ranked the 20 schools that it considers the most and the least “gay community accepted.” [Here’s the list.–SRK] This year, the review ranked New York University as most gay friendly and Notre Dame as most inhospitable.

    Steele points out that the Review’s gay-friendly rankings are based on student opinion, while his guide is based on quantifiable data.

    Harriet Brand, spokeswoman for the Review, said the survey of 115,000 students is more compelling because students offer a more accurate, ground-level gauge of a campus’s climate.

    I have to side with Harriet Brand here–and not just because of company loyalty. Numbers of courses listed in the gay studies department, dollars of funding for gay student organizations, and the like are presumably what The Advocate is quantifying–The Boston Globe doesn’t say–but they only tell part of the story. “Gay-friendly” depends on perception. I’d be willing to bet that there are quite a few public colleges that have funded gay and lesbian programs but where gay students don’t feel particularly comfortable. And there could be institutions at which lots of little identity-politics-driven organizations don’t exist but students of many kinds study comfortably alongside one another. In any case, potential applicants now have at least two resources, compiled using complementary methods, to draw from.

    3 Responses to “Camp on campus”

    1. Dean Esmay says:

      Indeed, it’s entirely plausible that some gay students won’t LIKE the “gay friendly” campus groups.

      I knew a lesbian who couldn’t stand what she considered an obsessively man-hating clique-ishness at her university (which I think may have been Wellesley but I’m not sure).

    2. Dean Esmay says:

      “Obsessively man-hating clique-ishness IN THE LESBIAN SUBCULTURE” of her university I mean. Not the whole university.

      To add further clarification: they didn’t want you having man-friends, and were so stupidly obsessed about the whole thing that they’d get mad if you were a lesbo and used Chapstick. Because that was a phallus. The lesbians were all supposed to use lip balm that came in little pots, like Carmex. I kid you not…

    3. Sean Kinsell says:

      Well, that was probably the visible clique that was associated with the more ideological sorts of women’s studies courses. It’s not that such behavior isn’t juvenile (not to mention intellectually illiberal–not exactly what one would want at an institution of higher learning), but there were probably a fair number of other lesbians like your friend who thought getting worked up over lip balm was ridiculous and tended to congregate by themselves.

      I myself went to very few LGBA meetings when I was in college, and they seemed like pretty much a waste of time. The campus policy stuff they were frothing over seemed trivial, so there was no particular sense of political empowerment; and there were plenty of informal ways to connect with other gays socially if that was your aim. Of course, it helped that I was a lit. major and had a slew of friends who did theater, but overall, it was just the kind of campus where there were plenty of niches available and you just had to find yours.

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