3 Big Country universities named on list of ‘absolute worst, most unsafe’ campuses for LGBTQ youth

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ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) — Three universities in the Big Country have been named on a list of “the absolute worst, most unsafe campuses for LGBTQ youth” by a national nonprofit advocacy group.

In an article published Monday, Campus Pride released its “Worst List,” featuring colleges or universities that “have either received or applied for a Title IX religious exemption to openly discriminate against LGBTQ youth, or they have a demonstrated history of anti-LGBTQ policies, programs and practices,” the organization’s website says.

Of the 180 campuses named on the list, three are located in the Big Country, including Abilene Christian University, Hardin-Simmons University, and Howard Payne University in Brownwood.

The article offers the following reasons each university landed on the list:

Abilene Christian University

Abilene Christian University has qualified for the Worst List because it has a past and recent history of anti-LGBTQ discrimination and most recently, implemented an aggressive, discriminatory ban on same-sex relationships for student employees (including same-sex dating) that has created an inhospitable, harmful climate.

As stated on the campus website, those student workers “asked to exemplify and support the university’s mission” — will be barred from dating people of the same sex, similar to how faculty and staff have been for years.

CampusPride.org

ACU offered the following statement in response:

We affirm the dignity and worth of every person as created in God’s image. We condemn language and behaviors that communicate disrespect toward any member of the ACU community.

Statement from Abilene Christian University

Hardin-Simmons University

Hardin-Simmons University has qualified for the Worst List because it holds an exemption to Title IX, allowing the college to discriminate against its students on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, pregnancy or receipt of abortion while still receiving federal funds.

CampusPride.org

HSU issued the following statement in response:

“At Hardin-Simmons University, we affirm that every person is made in the image of God and should be treated with dignity and respect, and we are committed to providing a place where all of our students are safe and receive an excellent education.”

Statement from Hardin-Simmons University

Howard Payne University

Howard Payne University has qualified for the Worst List because it holds an exemption to Title IX, allowing the college to discriminate against its students on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, pregnancy or receipt of abortion while still receiving federal funds.

CampusPride.org

According to the organization’s website, “the primary objective of Campus Pride is to develop necessary resources, programs and services to support LGBTQ and ally students on college campuses across the United States.”

A total of 17 universities on the list are located in Texas.

Request for comment from Howard Payne University has not been returned as of time of publishing.

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