Cardiff University and Liverpool John Moores University are the UK’s most gay-friendly universities, a study says.
Both institutions scored full marks in an assessment by the gay rights charity Stonewall, which looked at the support available for lesbian, gay and bisexual students and rated procedures to guard against homophobic bullying.
Other institutions that scored highly included the universities of Aberystwyth, Birmingham, Canterbury Christ Church, Cumbria, Derby, Portsmouth, Salford, Surrey and University College London.
Twenty-one universities achieving high scores in the Gay By Degree 2013 ranking were named Stonewall Diversity Champions.
However, the average university score on support for gay people was just 4.5 out of 10, the study says.
Wes Streeting, former president of the National Union of Students and now head of education at Stonewall, said that universities needed to do more to embed policies to protect gay staff and students from discrimination. Only higher education providers have a high-profile anti-homophobic bullying policy accompanied by staff training, he said, but “shockingly” just 14 have sexual orientation monitoring in place.
“If universities aren’t even counting the number of gay students, how can they assure themselves, and prospective applicants, that they are fulfilling their moral and legal duty to provide an inclusive learning experience?” he said.
The study found that 136 universities had a lesbian, gay and bisexual society, although just 40 engaged with the wider community on gay issues.
Trebling tuition fees to £9,000 a year placed even more responsibility on institutions to ensure that they had a supportive atmosphere for gay people, Mr Streeting added. “Higher education providers should provide a high-quality experience for all students, including lesbian, gay and bisexual students.”
He hoped that the list would help gay students to choose a university, he said, and that institutions near the bottom would review their policies.