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Eight Carolinas colleges included on ‘Shame List’ for LGBT discrimination

Belmont Abbey College in Belmont, NC, is among the colleges included on LGBT ‘shame list’ released Monday for LGBT discrimination.
Belmont Abbey College in Belmont, NC, is among the colleges included on LGBT ‘shame list’ released Monday for LGBT discrimination. jkomer@charlotteobserver.com

Charlotte-based Campus Pride, one of the nation’s leading advocates for LGBT college students, released its annual Shame List Monday, highlighting “The Absolute Worst Campuses for LGBTQ Youth.” Eight Carolinas colleges are on it.

In all, the national listing includes 102 campuses that Campus Pride says openly discriminate against LGBTQ youth in policies, programs and practices as documented on the site listing. In nearly every case, the Carolinas colleges included are religious-based.

Among the eight Carolinas colleges are Charlotte Christian and Theological Seminary, which Campus Pride says has applied for an exemption to Title IX in order to discriminate against its students on the bases of sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, pregnancy or receipt of abortion while still receiving federal funds.

Belmont Abbey College in Gaston County, also qualified for the Shame List because it holds an exemption to Title IX, allowing the college to discriminate against its students on the basis of gender identity while still receiving federal funds, said Campus Pride.

Other Carolinas colleges included: Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C.; Bob Jones University in Greenville, S.C.; Anderson University in Anderson, S.C.; Charleston Southern University in Charleston, S.C.; North Greenville University in Tigerville, S.C.; and Southern Wesleyan University in Central, S.C.

The full list and reasons colleges were included can be found CampusPride.org/ShameList.

The list’s release comes at the height of the ongoing national debate over North Carolina’s House Bill 2, a law passed earlier this year that negated all city nondiscrimination ordinances in the state, many of which offered civil rights protections for LGBT people. Among the most hotly debated issues connected to the law is whether transgender people should have access to the restroom of their gender identity in government facilities, including institutions of higher learning. HB2 forbids that accommodation.

“Most people are shocked when they learn that there are college campuses still today that openly discriminate against LGBTQ youth. It is an unspoken secret in higher education, how they use religion as a tool for cowardice and discrimination,” said Shane Windmeyer, executive director of Campus Pride.

“This lists uncovers the religion-based bigotry that is harmful and perpetuated against LGBTQ youth on these campuses.”

The Shame List was first published online Dec. 1, 2015 as a way to highlight 57 campuses that had received or requested Title IX exemptions to freely and openly discriminate against LGBTQ youth. At that time, the campuses applying for these discriminatory waivers did so privately, Campus Pride says. It was not public information. According to Campus Pride, often times even faculty, staff and students did not know.

Since then, the United States Department of Education has published online the letters of campuses related to Title IX exemptions. Campus Pride said in a press release that it spent the last six months compiling a database and researching all public records related to anti-LGBTQ policies, programs and practices at these campuses.

This is the first-time Campus Pride has released a listing of the worst anti-LGBTQ campuses across the country. Every year Campus Pride releases a “Best of the Best” listing highlighting college campuses with the most inclusive LGBTQ-friendly policies, programs and practices.

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