The Chicago Tribune reported Tuesday that The Princeton Review ranked Wheaton College as the nation's least tolerant college for gays and lesbians.
David Soto, college ratings director for The Princeton Review, told the Tribune that the ranking is based on an 80-question survey sent to more than 122,000 students across the nation with topics including social scene, peers, campus and community.
The ranking spurred , an organization of gay Wheaton College alumni into action. OneWheaton spokeswoman Kristen Winn wrote in a press release Wednesday that the ranking comes despite a "growing number of the school's alumni who are coming out of the closet and speaking up."
The college issued a statement this week responding to the rankings, "Wheaton College strives to treat all students with respect. As part of our voluntary community, students, faculty and staff sign a Community Covenant" which is based on and shaped by a traditional understanding of the comprehensive moral teachings of the Bible, including the Bible's teaching on sexual morality."
The Covenant includes a reading from the Bible that says, "...Scripture condemns... sexual immorality, such as the use of pornography, premarital sex, adultery, homosexual behavior and all other sexual relations outside the bounds of marriage between a man and woman.
"...While some may interpret this stance as hostility to the LGBTQ community, our aim is to stand respectfully and graciously for biblical truth."
Jessica Friesen, a 2008 graduate of Wheaton College, said that it's "sad," that Wheaton College is perceived as the worst college for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered and questioning (LGBTQ) students. "We get positive emails almost everyday from people thanking and encouraging us for the actions we're taking (with OneWheaton)."
OneWheaton, formed in April, offers support and acceptance for LGBTQ students as an alternative to the school's position that homosexual behavior is a sin. Organizers are now preparing for the new school year with plans to do regular outreach to students, including a major event during the college's homecoming weekend in October, according to Winn.
Adam Hibma, OneWheaton outreach coordinator, said he hopes the recent ranking encourages Wheaton College students to engage with OneWheaton and find meaningful ways to support their LBGT peers. "It's clear from the responses we've gotten that many people, students especially, are hungry to move forward," Hibma said.