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RAs want to make halls good homes

Jeremy Lamb | Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Recently, these pages have contained much debate about the University’s reluctance and refusal to acknowledge a student club dedicated to advocating for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transexual and questioning (LGBTQ) community, as well as to insert into the current non-discrimination policy a clause protecting this same community. I am in full support of both of these actions, as are virtually all other students with whom I have discussed the matter. Of course, I’m not ignorant enough to think that this view is universal, and I am willing to respect opposing viewpoints. But that’s not what this is about. To echo Gabriel Nunez’s letter (“Please tell us why,” April 30), I believe that not only is the University obligated to explain their reasoning behind these decisions, but that they really should want to. If we are left alone to ponder their statement that their current policy regarding the LGBTQ community is “adequate,” they should know there is really nothing good that can come from that pondering. They say it’s adequate, and yet they pledge to bolster their efforts to abide by it? Doesn’t it seem as though there is some inconsistency there? Besides, why aim for adequate? Why not “exemplary” or “pioneering?” This University prides itself on being exceptional in so many facets – why should this one area be any different?
Next, I’d like to address Sam Costanzo’s column (“Father Jenkins, this is not about an agenda,” May 1). It is about an agenda and we likely will never really know what that agenda is. But what I’d like to address his statement that members of the LGBTQ community “can barely trust their residence hall staff.” I have tremendous appreciation for the struggles these individuals face on a daily basis, whether it be trying to decide if someone would be a receptive listener or simply dealing with the “silent discrimination” that happens so often. I am also a Resident Assistant. I can safely say that we undergo many hours of training when it comes to these topics. One session was led by Jason G’Sell (“In solidarity,” May 1), and another by members of the University Counseling Center. I try my hardest to foster a welcoming and tolerant environment. This generally includes trying to make my residents mindful of their language and other such tasks. I feel as though we do a pretty good job of making our halls good homes. I do not wish to come across as though I’m thinking, “Well, we’re doing our best, so if some people still aren’t comfortable, then too bad.” That couldn’t be further from my line of thinking. I just want to convey that we are trying to the best of our ability. We really do want to help. Please teach us how.

Jeremy Lamb
Knott Hall
May 1