Johns Hopkins publishes OUTList, a list of all the out lesbian/gay/bi/transgender students, staff, and faculty. The University of Maryland makes employees’ same-sex partners eligible for benefits. But according to a national ranking of universities, not all Baltimore-area schools are created equal when it comes to creating a LGBT-friendly campus. The LGBT-Friendly Campus Climate Index allots participating universities between zero (yike!) and five (hooray!) stars. Here’s how local schools measure up:

Goucher:  3/5 stars
Johns Hopkins: 3.5/5 stars
MICA: 4/5 stars
Morgan State: 2.5/5 stars
UMBC: 3.5/5 stars
University of Maryland (College ParK): 5/5 stars
Towson: 4/5 stars

So why do some schools score higher than others? It depends on a host of factors such as school policy, institutional commitment, academic life, student life, campus safety, housing, counseling, and recruitment efforts. Morgan State doesn’t have an active campus safety policy for LGBT students;  MICA gets high scores for encouraging various expressions of gender identity, but had points docked for its lack of official policy inclusions for LGBT students.

And while we tend to think that rankings of all kinds reduce schools to an over-simplified (and manipulatable) formula, we can understand what the Campus Climate Index is trying to do here. By using schools’ own rankings-mania to point out the weaknesses in their inclusion policies, they just might get some actual change enacted — and that’s a good thing.