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SDSU Trails Neighboring States’ Universities in Supporting LGBTQ Students

Prepared before Cattlemen’s chief Steve Ollerich’s anti-trans rant and apology was this Best Colleges report on Campus Pride’s rating of South Dakota State University’s LGBTQ-friendliness:

A public research institution located in Brookings, South Dakota State University was founded in 1881. SDSU offers information and support for its LGBTQ+ students through its LGBTQ+ resource center. The center connects students to the SDSU Gender and Sexualities Alliance — a campus organization that educates students about LGBTQ+ issues and gender identity. SDSU provides a list of gender-inclusive restrooms on campus and offers counseling services with a counselor experienced in LGBTQ+ issues. In addition to providing information about on-campus resources, the LGBTQ+ resource center provides a list of community resources, including LGBTQ+-friendly businesses, churches, and healthcare organizations.

SDSU offers an on-campus housing option for LGBTQ+ students called Allied for Acceptance; this community prioritizes inclusiveness. The campus also hosts safe zone trainings to educate the community about LGBTQ+ identities, with the goal of training allies to create a more inclusive community [“Best College for LGBTQ Students in Each State,”, last modified 2019.05.31].

That’s better than nothing, but Campus Pride only rates SDSU 2.5 on their five-point scale:

Campus Pride, profile of SDSU, retrieved 2019.09.08.
Campus Pride, profile of SDSU, retrieved 2019.09.08.

…and SDSU appears to be the only South Dakota school that Campus Pride has bothered to rate. Campus Pride rates NDSU, UND, UNL, and UNO and finds them all more welcoming than SDSU. Of five Iowa campuses rated, two are better than SDSU, one ties, and two are lower. Of ten Minnesota schools rated, only two—McNally Smith College of Music and Metropolitan State U, both in St. Paul—rate lower than SDSU. Campus Pride hasn’t rated any schools in Wyoming or Montana.

The 25 LGBTQ-friendliest campuses in America, all 4.5- to 5-star scorers, are not all on the coasts as pre-apology Steve Ollerich might have said: they include Ohio State University, U Texas–Dallas, U Minnesota Twin Cities, Macalaster in St. Paul, and Indiana U–Bloomington.


  1. Curt 2019-09-08 14:50

    Sure, but SDSU fb team sure made hash of something called LIU and its fb team. Honestly, who knew LIU had a varsity football team? American football, I mean.

  2. Barry G. Wick 2019-09-08 15:09

    Any LGBTQ person seeking advanced education with enough coin should leave South Dakota and go to a state with more intelligence and better funded educational institutions. Unless, of course, they happen to like living in the midst of a large number of Trumper fools who hate science, education, intelligent leadership, people who don’t look like them, and people who won’t tow the line and be like them in every ignorant and idiotic way.

  3. Robert McTaggart 2019-09-08 15:23

    I note that several degrees at SDSU, including Physics, require the “Introduction to Global Citizenship and Diversity” within their curricula. That was not mentioned in the synopsis by Cory.

  4. Porter Lansing 2019-09-08 16:33

    Two and a half is still pretty good. Especially in a state with bigots Fred Deutsch, Pat Powers, and a raging rampage of religious extremists vowing to legislate away the rights of transgender citizens, next session. Recently they’ve attacked a young SF trans person and their Sanford Med School chair physician with two out of state doctors claiming to be experts but possessing little but opinions on the subject.
    Quote: “While it is impossible to be born in the wrong body (“boy brain” in a girl’s body), some children believe this has occurred to them. No child is born in the wrong body.” – William J. Malone MD
    “There is an epidemic of teens now identifying as transgender.” – The Kelsey Coalition

  5. jerry 2019-09-08 16:40

    How do you get global diversity with immigration issues hindering it all.

    “A Palestinian teenager admitted to Harvard on a full scholarship was held for several hours at Boston airport before being denied entry to the United States. The Harvard University Journal, The Crimson, reported that the reason behind the deportation was because there was anti-American comments place on his social media accounts by his friends.”

    Think if his friends would have put something involving lgbtq into the conversation. Pence and mother would have had a fit.

  6. Debbo 2019-09-08 21:02

    And SD/SDGOP can’t figure out how to stop the brain drain or fill jobs. smh 🙄🙄🙄

  7. Debbo 2019-09-08 23:43

    Want to see where SDSU and the rest of SD can get students and population? Check out these cool charts from the World Economic Forum:

  8. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-09-09 19:06

    Robert, just curious: does that particular general education requirement meaningfull distinguish SDSU from other universities? What courses can one take to fulfill that requirement?

  9. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-09-09 19:12

    From Debbo’s link: 60% of humanity lives in Asia. Keeping enrollments up at our universities means playing to that market.

  10. Robert McTaggart 2019-09-09 19:49

    The class is currently not a general education requirement, nor does it count as a general education elective.

    When Physics was in the College of Arts and Sciences, it was a college requirement. Physics is now in the College of Natural Sciences, and that course has stayed in our curriculum.

    Physics requires also that a minor or a double-major be completed in another prefix, or students must complete the Science Teaching Specialization (which is accredited).

    As part of SDSU’s preparations for re-accreditation of the university, every program must assess themselves in at least five areas from an official list. Basically the idea is to show future employers what they are getting when they hire a physics major or some other major.

    Moreover, all programs must address diversity, inclusion, and equity. All of them. Our program is addressing diversity, inclusion, and equity in part with the aforementioned class. We have also chosen to assess Information Literacy, Communication (which is outside the list), Problem Solving, Inquiry and Analysis, and Creative and Critical Thinking.

    In our Science Teaching Specialization in Physics, students must take “South Dakota American Indian Culture and Education” as an SGR#3 instead of the Global Citizenship and Diversity course as a general elective. That has more to do with high school teaching requirements.

  11. Robert McTaggart 2019-09-09 20:11

    Many universities have as similar (but not necessarily the exact same) course.

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