Texas Christian University planned to offer undergrads gay-oriented housing, creating a safe space for GLBT students (and heteros too) who wanted to live in a home where sexual orientation and gender identity could be explored without hate. Now, they shelved plans — and insist it had nothing to do with conservative outcry.
Called “living learning communities,” TCU offers students branded dorm rooms under themes like honors, leadership, environmental issues, health and wellness, and language and international issues. It’s not unique to TCU; plenty of other colleges give students a choice in themed living spaces.
The eight “housing pods” under the “DiversCity Q” theme, however, was the only one that set anybody off. The media attention TCU’s decision received was unexpected, the university says. But it’s not why they canceled their new housing plans.
TCU Chancellor Victor J. Boschini Jr. said the national attention over the gay-related housing theme did not drive his decision to backtrack on themed housing.
“The biggest complaint we got from people was not about any single group but about having these groups in general,” said Boschini, whose decision reverses the approval of eight new housing pods, including the gay and lesbian-themed unit. The others – patriotism, Christianity and marine biology, for examples – didn’t appear to be controversial.
Boschini said he heard from students, faculty, alumni and others. “Their theory was, it’s splitting students up instead of uniting them,” he said.
Carson Russell, a TCU student, said the administration’s backtracking is ill-advised.
“Now, the community that supported the movement for these housing communities, myself included, is angry at TCU for giving in to those who were against it,” Russell said. “I had not heard much, if any, complaint from the majority of the student body, so whoever it was that changed TCU’s mind must be more important than its students, I guess.”