BREAKING NEWS: TCU postpones housing program for LGBT students

Posted on 13 Apr 2009 at 1:09pm

Officials at Texas Christian University have postponed plans for a living-learning community for LGBT students and their supporters.

The DiversityCity Q community, which had been slated to open this fall, made national news last week, when it was reported that TCU would be the first university in the region — and one of the few nationwide — to provide on-campus housing specifically designed for gay students.

But on Monday, TCU Chancellor Victor J. Boschini Jr. issued a statement saying the university won’t launch any new living-learning communities at this time.

“Instead we will assess whether the concept of housing residential students based on themes supports the academic mission of the institution, as well as our objective to provide a total university experience,” Boschini said in the statement. “The university will maintain its long-standing commitment to the inclusiveness of all people. To that end, our numerous and diverse support groups will continue to play a vital role on our campus.”

In addition to DiversityCity Q, the decision reportedly will affect as many as six other living-learning communities that were scheduled to open this year, including two that were geared toward Christian students. Three existing living-learning communities will continue pending the development of new guidelines.

The two TCU students who proposed DiversityCity Q — Shelly Newkirk and Su Harz — said Monday they were disappointed with the decision. Harz said she thinks the administration caved to outside pressure, and she noted that DiversityCity Q was the only living-learning community that had generated any media attention.

“I don’t think it’s fueled by homophobia necessarily. I would say it’s more fueled by the administration feeling uncomfortable with the controversy,” Harz said. “I guess I feel that there were a lot of phone calls being made from alumni and external sources, people who have invested interests in TCU, who felt concerned that TCU was promoting homosexuality on campus.”

In his statement, Boschini said a committee of faculty, staff and students will review the guidelines for living-learning communities before making recommendations to the Board of Trustees.

For more on this story, see Friday’s Dallas Voice.

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