Princeton Ranked in Top 20 Campuses for LGBT Students

top 20Princeton University was recently named one of the top 20 "Best of the Best" campuses for LGBT students in The Advocate College Guide for LGBT Students. The following page provides information about the survey and how Princeton measures up.

About the Survey


In total, 680 campuses nationwide were nominated and 5,500 online interviews were conducted. The survey was completed by Princeton staff, faculty, and students. About 40 Princeton students (both undergraduate and graduate) participated in the initial survey. Five students also completed in-depth interviews. Some of their answers are included on this page. Some of the aspects evaluated in the survey process are:

  • Support from the University administrators and faculty
  • LGBT-specific support services (i.e. LGBT center, staff, resources and initiatives)
  • LGBT campus organizations
  • Caliber of LGBT programming and activity on campus
  • Specific LGBT initiatives (i.e. safe space/ally programs, LGBT-specific support groups, inclusive health and counseling services, on-campus training with departments, and LGBT-specific recruitment)
  • Inclusive LGBT policies (i.e. domestic partner benefits, sexual orientation and gender identity in the non-discrimination policy, and procedure for reporting homophobia)
  • State laws and local ordinances.
  • History of institutional support and LGBT campus organizing


Why Princeton Is a Top 20 School


Princeton University and the University of Pennsylvania were the only two Ivy League universities included in the Top 20 "Best of the Best." Princeton was evaluated on a number of aspects, including both on-campus and off-campus environments.


The State of New Jersey

The environment in which the school is located was taken into account. New Jersey is an amazing state to live in if you are LGBT. New Jersey is one of 17 states that have a non-discrimination policy and one of 13 states with domestic partnership. We were also one of the first states to offer second parent adoption and may soon be the second state to have same-sex marriage.

  • Anti-Discrimination Law: This law covers protection on the basis of sexual orientation in public and private employment, public accommodations, and education. New Jersey is only one of 17 states offering protection on the basis of sexual orientation. Also, currently bills A930/S362 are being considered to include "gender identity and expression" in the LAD. The outcome is very promising.
  • Domestic Partnership: The law covers many things, such as: hospital visitation/medical decision making, joint state tax status, and a requirement for NJ insurance companies to offer benefits to domestic partners. It passed overwhelmingly in both the state Senate and Assembly.
  • Hate Crimes Law: NJ’s law includes sexual orientation.
  • Ranked Number 1 in GLSEN's 2004 State of the States Report, which analyzes statewide safe schools policies. NJ was one of only two A's coming in with a score of 95. It should also be noted that 42 states received failing grades. NJ's school laws offer protection on the basis of both sexual orientation and gender identity.


Institutional Support

There are 4,000 plus colleges and universities in the country and only about 100 schools have full-time professional LGBT coordinators or directors. Princeton stands out among these schools with a director, administrative assistant, and graduate assistant. Our University administration is " This year alone, 3 out of 4 of my professors actively display ally pins on their bags or ally triangles in their office, it really makes you feel like you are among friends and have so much support when you see them enter the classroom."  
--Non-Gendered, Bisexual, Sophomore, 20
incredibly supportive on all levels. President Shirley M. Tilghman has shown unwavering support forthe LGBT community.  Each year, she participates in our annual Lavender Graduation ceremony and in the past has been a judge for the All-Ivy Drag Competition.  LGBT students are consistently supported by campus administrators and faculty, who are among our wonderful allies.


Additionally, Princeton has a long history of supporting LGBT students, staff, and faculty.  We were the second university in the country to add sexual orientation to the non-discrimination policy in 1985 (Read more about our history on campus).  Princeton also added gender identity in 2006.  In addition, the University offers domestic partner benefits for same-sex couples, LGBT-inclusive policies and procedures, and integrates LGBT issues campus wide.  Examples of this are the inclusion of sexual orientation in documents and forms, such as the admission literature, health care forms, human resources materials and alumni publications.


LGBT Support Services

Princeton University has a very active LGBT Center with two professional staff members.  Debbie Bazarsky, director of the LGBT Center, has been working at Princeton since 2001 and Matt Carcella, the LGBT Center assistant, started working for the Center in 2005.  The Center also serves as a field placement site for graduate assistants from local universitiedebbie claires who work on special projects to support the work of the Center.  In addition, there are five fabulous students who regularly work at the LGBT Center.


It should be noted that the LGBT Center director position evolved from a graduate assistant position that began out of the Office of Religious Life in 1989.  Princeton was the 6th school at the time to create a LGBT coordinator position.  The position grew and expanded into what is now the LGBT Center.  Today, the LGBT Center provides services to the campus community with a resource and lending library, study space for students, a lounge equipped with projection equipment for programming and meetings, and workspace for LGBT related organizations.  The Center strives to be a welcoming and supportive space by, for, and about the LGBT campus community.  


LGBT Programs and Initiatives

Princeton University is on the cutting edge regarding LGBT programs and initiatives. 



The LGBT Center and numerous departments campus wide offer programming on a variety of LGBT topics.  The LGBT Center puts out a full programming calendar with about 2-3 programs a week.  View the LGBT Center Calendar for a full list of events >>


"The annual Drag Ball, hosted by Terrace Club, is one of the most popular and fun LGBT events on campus. The Drag Ball draws both students straight and gay and brings out the drag inside all of us. There’s a competition with prizes at midnight for the best drag queens and kings and the competition is always fierce."
--Female, Queer, Senior, 23
Annual Events

The LGBT community has a number of annual events including our beginning of the year activities, such as the Welcome Back Barbeque; Queer Articulations, a three day film festival in February; and our fabulous Lavender Graduation Ceremony in the spring.  Learn more about our annual programs and to view listings of past programs >>


LGBT Campus Organizations

The University supports numerous LGBT organizations for undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, and staff.  Several of the key organizations on campus are the Pride Alliance, Queer Graduate Caucus, and LGBT Task Force.  In addition, we have a LGBT Peer Education Program and several support and discussion groups.  To learn more about the organizations, visit our Campus Groups and Organizations page >>


ALLY Project

The University’s ALLY Project designed for faculty and staff has been in place for more then 15 years.  All faculty and staff members are invited to participate in a half day training session covering a variety of LGBT topics.  Upon completion of the training, each person is given an Ally Triangle to display on their office door or window signifying that they are an ally to LGBT campus community and aware of the LGBT resources available on campus. 


In addition to the ALLY Project, a number of University offices have initiated their own LGBT training sessions that are specific to their department.  Some of these offices include—Athletics, Campus Life, Counseling and Psychological Services, Housing, Public Safety, Residential Colleges, and University Health Services.  


lavendar graduateAcademics

Princeton is known for having the best academic programs in the world.  We have a variety of faculty who are out and whose work revolves around LGBT topics.  Princeton does not have a LGBT studies program.  However, LGBT courses are offered as part of the Program in the Study of Women and Gender.  In addition, we have an array of LGBT related courses and world renowned scholars who add to the queer discourse on campus.  Additionally, Princeton is the first university in the country to offer a LGBT post-doctoral fellowship. 


Conferences and Research

Beyond programming and queer courses, students are eligible for funding for LGBT specific research and to attend queer conferences.  There are various University resources for LGBT scholarship and thesis research.  In addition, among the many conferences available, Princeton students annually attend the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s Creating Change conference, as well as regional conferences such as, The Mosaic Conference for LGBT students of color.  Also, Princeton has a hosted a variety of LGBT conferences in the past


Active Alumni

Princeton alumni are incredibly active on campus.  We often have alumni come back to campus to participate in programs, offer support and expertise, and provide mentorship.  In addition, Princeton has a very active LGBT alumni organization, known as the Fund For Reunion (FFR).  FFR has over 1,000 members and an endowment of nearly $2 million.  The LGBT community at Princeton University receives immense support from the Fund for Reunion , including funding the annual FFR LGBTQ Lecture Series and LGBT Post Doctoral Fellowship, as well as supporting the work of the LGBT campus organizations.


How Is Princeton Continuing to Improve Our Campus for LGBT Students?


While we are thrilled to be named in the top 20 "Best of the Best" schools for LGBT students, there is always room for improvement. In the spring of 2006, the LGBT community came together for a community forum.  A great showing of students, faculty, and staff identified a number of new initiatives and community programs.  Several of the things we are working on are additional queer course offerings, creating a more trans-inclusive campus, and increasing the number of social events on campus.  Also, the All-Ivy Drag competition will be back in 2007.


To read more about what Princeton has to offer LGBT students, visit our Prospective Students page.