In order to be more accommodating for LGBTQIA students, ResLife has been working with the Queer-Straight Alliance (QSA) to reform the current housing application process. This is a highly progressive move that will create an overall more accepting and happy community at MSU, because it shows that the student voice matters, and that the administration is more than willing to reform the current system for the sake of student welfare.
This reform originated from a five-part set of demands that QSA sent to President Waded Cruzado, the last of which demanded that options be included on the ResLife housing application that allowed students to ask if their potential roommate would be willing to room with an LGBTQIA student.
Alex Paterson, the president of QSA, said, “At MSU, it is clear that we are far behind in serving queer and trans students. However, ResLife has been pragmatic in finding solutions for queer and trans students.” Paterson and QSA have been working closely with Jeff Bondy, associate director of ResLife, in order to get their crucial demands implemented. “Working with [ResLife] has been successful and we are already seeing change happen in the dorms,” Paterson said.
ResLife is responding to these matters as quickly as possible. “While I regret that we were not able to develop an approach prior to our fall application going live in October 2015, we will have an updated application process in place for 2017,” Bondy said. And ResLife is still doing its best for students coming in next fall: “Assistant Director James Tobin will work with students on an individual basis to address comments and concerns,” Bondy said, which will provide a temporary solution until the more permanent fix is put in place in 2017.
While ResLife is being incredibly active in addressing the concerns QSA presented to them, the other four demands are struggling to get past the red tape. As of right now, Cruzado’s office will not hold a meeting with QSA to discuss implementing these demands. The logic is there, because they do not want to set a precedent for other clubs to do the same, which could arguably allow less serious issues reach the top. However, this is an issue that may need to set precedent, and as Paterson put it, “Queer students don’t feel like this is a campus where they can thrive, they are just trying to survive.” MSU needs to be willing to hear all these demands if they want a truly accepting community.
Portland grown social advocate, Alex is the kind of guy who’s seen too many movies and hasn’t read enough books. Take him out to feed his coffee addiction and he’ll talk to you about everything from Dostoyevsky to Spongebob. Alex can be reached at email@example.com.