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Expelled for being LGBT? Missouri college named the worst for gay and trans students

The College of the Ozarks did not rank highly for its treatment of LGBT students based on a survey of 137,000 students across the U.S.
The College of the Ozarks did not rank highly for its treatment of LGBT students based on a survey of 137,000 students across the U.S.

A school in Missouri is the most unfriendly to LGBT people out of hundreds of colleges, according to a survey published this month.

The College of the Ozarks, a private Christian school in Point Lookout, Mo., topped the list as the worst for lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual students out of 382 colleges.

Valorie Coleman, a public relations director at the school, told the Springfield News-Leader that she does not consider the school hostile to LGBT people, but she acknowledged its strict rules against what she called sexual immorality.

“We are pretty transparent about it,” she said. “That is who we are. We are a religious institution that adheres to a Christian worldview.”

The school handbook outlines harsh repercussions for those at the school who do not confirm to a heteronormative, cisnormative worldview.

“Sexual relations are for the purpose of the procreation of human life and the uniting and strengthening of the marital bond ... purposes that are to be achieved solely through heterosexual relationships in marriage,” the handbook states, before listing a series of Bible verses.

The guidelines are so harsh, even, that LGBT students can be dismissed simply as a result of their gender identity or sexual orientation.

Even heterosexual touching, caressing or premarital sex can warrant dismissal, according to the handbook. Homosexuality, porn viewing and gender expression “inconsistent with sex assigned at birth” are listed in the handbook as “misuses of God’s gift of human sexuality.”

The College of the Ozarks was also named the second-most “stone-cold sober” school out of the 382 ranked.

Prospective students are encouraged to visit the Ozarks school to ensure it’s a “right fit” before enrolling, Coleman told the News-Leader.

The Princeton Review conducted the survey, receiving responses from 137,000 students from the 382 schools. Based on those responses, the schools were ranked in a number of different areas, including most and least friendly to LGBT students. Bryn Mawr in Pennsylvania was the most LGBT friendly.

No other schools in Missouri or Kansas appeared on either of those two lists.

Max Londberg: 816-234-4378, @MaxLondberg

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