Ohio University has been suspended from the Campus Pride Index, an indicator of institutional commitment to an LGBTQ-inclusive policy, program and practice, on Tuesday.
OU’s Campus Pride Index had four out of five stars before it was removed from the index.
Shane Windmeyer, the founder and executive director at Campus Pride, informed OU President Duane Nellis that the university would be suspended from being listed publicly on Campus Pride Index for a minimum of 20 months or until deemed appropriate.
Windmeyer said the time could be shorter if the university shows proof over the next several months that they are making changes to help LGBTQ students.
The university responded with a statement on Tuesday.
“While Campus Pride Index may not rank us, that will not deter us in our unwavering commitment and support for our LGBTQ+ community,” Carly Leatherwood, a university spokeswoman, said.
Campus Pride is a national LGBTQ organization that works with more than 1,400 colleges and universities. The index ranking breaks down LGBTQ-friendly inclusion factors, such as policy inclusion, academic life, housing and residence life, campus safety counseling and health.
Windmeyer said in a letter that Campus Pride’s mission is to support LGBTQ students and their voice. The index is a free resource that helps LGBTQ students and families find LGBT-friendly campuses.
“It is evident that the dismissal of delfin bautista had a negative impact on student safety and the perception of inclusion from your office,” Windmeyer said in the letter.
On March 15, Windmeyer wrote a letter to Nellis asking to learn more about the situation after the former LGBT Center Director delfin bautista, who uses they/them pronouns and does not capitalize their name, was removed in January.
Tyrone Carr is currently the interim director of the LGBT Center. Leatherwood said in an email that the search for the next director continues but hopes to make an announcement over the next few days.
Windmeyer addressed issues following bautista’s removal and after hearing concerns from LGBTQ students, particularly students of color, about feeling unsafe and unsupported on campus.
Leatherwood said in an email that Nellis reached out to Windmeyer on March 27 to schedule a meeting to “have a frank and honest discussion” with Windmeyer and other key university personnel.
“Unfortunately, the only conclusion that a reasonable person looking at the communications could reach is that Mr.Windmeyer was less interested in open dialogue than he was in reaching a predetermined result,” Leatherwood said in an email.
On April 8, Windmeyer was unable to make the call with Nellis and asked to reschedule, which couldn’t be done for several weeks. Windmeyer sent a list of questions to be answered by the university on April 12.
Questions included why bautista was removed, how the university will work to improve diversity and concerns regarding Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion Gigi Secuban.
After not receiving a response, Windmeyer informed Nellis that OU had been removed from the Campus Pride Index.
“We do not take this decision lightly and feel it is in the best interest of maintaining the integrity of our resources,” Windmeyer said in the letter. “I also want to make clear that we remain wholeheartedly committed to supporting your LGBTQ students, staff and faculty.”
Leatherwood said in an email that while the decision to suspend OU from the Campus Pride Index ranking, the university will continue to promote diversity and inclusion in all forms as a top priority and welcomes the opportunity to work with any legitimate organization to further toward this goal.
“The University will continue to diligently foster an environment where its students, faculty and staff can thrive and experience opportunities to learn from one another’s differences and experiences, and it will continue to make progress as we evolve and advance as a national leader through collective community efforts,” Leatherwood said in an email.
Editor’s Note: The article has been updated to include a statement from Ohio University.