Entering college for the first time is a very exciting time. You are starting a new chapter of your life, meeting new people, and living independently. While I had the same anxieties that many have over making friends and adjusting to college life, I could not have been prepared for the experience of my freshman year. My first semester at Roger Williams was a very dark time. I cannot express how harmful it is to be excluded and disliked in your living space because of a part of yourself which you cannot change. I was fortunate that I was able to leave that situation and find acceptance and friendship, but the way that the situation was dealt with has always bothered me. I felt that the homophobia I encountered was affirmed and excused because of one question on a questionnaire. In addition to this, when people did begin to question this policy, they were basically shut down and scolded for making trouble.
I wrote this piece Initially as a way to get my frustration off my chest. It was cathartic to put my thoughts on paper. After it was finished I realized that perhaps sharing my thoughts and experiences could help future students avoid what I went through. It surprises me that Roger Williams University, a higher education institution named for the forward-thinking founder of Rhode Island, would struggle to adopt policies which are affirming of minoritized students and would actively silence students who try to address problematic policies. Indeed, I have published under an alias because I am not confident that I would not be rebuked for speaking out against this policy. My hope is that my view on this problem will help open up a conversation about the housing questionnaire, and in the process call attention to the way that Roger Williams University serves its minoritized students.
"Would you be comfortable living with someone who identifies as homophobic?,"
New and Dangerous Ideas: Vol. 2
, Article 14.
Available at: https://docs.rwu.edu/nadi/vol2/iss1/14
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