New and Dangerous Ideas




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.