The University of Glasgow has been named as one of the UK’s best for gay, lesbian and bisexual students. According to criteria determined by London-based charity Stonewall, Glasgow was the only Scottish higher education institution to earn a place among the six other British universities that also made the grade.
The other universities honoured were Cardiff University, Liverpool John Moores University, Sheffield Hallam University, University of Essex and York St John University.
The ‘Gay By Degree 2015’ report is Britain’s first online guide for the lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) community and is primarily aimed at prospective students who are choosing where to study. Factors measured include whether there is specific career advice for lesbian, gay and bisexual students and whether there is an explicit anti-homophobic bullying policy.
Glasgow University hailed the study in a statement by their Sexual Orientation Equality Champion, David Newall: “I am delighted that the University of Glasgow achieved top marks in Stonewall’s ‘Gay By Degree’. This reflects hard work by staff to ensure a supportive, positive student experience. As an organisation we have a strong working relationship with the student representatives and the LGBTQ+ student association, of which we are proud.”
“There are still many challenges in this area, but we hope the Glasgow University experience is supportive and positive for all LGBT students.”
One question raised by the study is why the University of Edinburgh did not also score full marks. Meeting only 6 out of 10 of the ‘Gay By Degree’ criteria, Edinburgh lacks “explicit welfare support and info for LGB students” as well as failing to “engage with the wider community”.
Greg Gaughan, President of Edinburgh University’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans society (BLOGS), was quick to note that Stonewall’s report reflected only the institutional level of support offered by the university. “BLOGS is a self funded social and welfare society – although we have a strong working relationship with Edinburgh University Students’ Association (EUSA) and their LGBT liberation group who work to promote LGBT student welfare we are not tied to them”.
“Edinburgh as a city is a great place to live, study and grow for LGBT+ students and supports a plethora of venues, networks and support services that host the wider LGBT community in the city”.
These sentiments were echoed by Fraser Graham, a fifth year architecture student at the university who has been involved with BLOGS for some time. “By providing a social safe space for LGBT+ people we give those students somewhere to feel welcome and a chance to form their own social group.”
“There is always more that can be done to tackle homophobia but so far the university has taken positive steps and I am looking forward to attending the universities LGBT careers fair next month”.