Boris Tsang / Staff Photographer

S.A. members meet in Willard Straight Hall.

November 16, 2017

S.A. Passes Resolution Calling for Implementation of Queer-Inclusive Program House

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Members of S.A. on Thursday voted to pass a resolution calling for queer-inclusive housing after Ryan Lombardi, Cornell vice president for student and campus life, presented the North Campus Residential Expansion plan before the floor.

The resolution called attention to the added risk LGBT students face in situations such as coming out to a roommate.

“We believe this house will help improve campus culture as well as promote community building,” said Ian Wallace ’20, LGBTQ+ liaison at-large. “On campus, students still face biases, and problems threatening rights, safety and pursuit of self-actualization.”

Institutions such as Dartmouth College and Tufts University have implemented queer-inclusive program houses with success, according to the resolution.

Wallace and co-sponsor Joseph Anderson ’20 recommended 112 Edgemoor as the location for the program house, having already spoken to Devan Carrington, the residence hall director, and received his support.

Resolution 21 passed 19-0-1. The passing vote indicates queer individuals will be consulted on the implementation of the program house and the resolution will be forwarded to the relevant members of Cornell Administration.

Mayra Valadez ’18, vice president of diversity and inclusion, commended Wallace on the work done on the proposal.

“I’m unbelievably proud of this resolution,” she said.

Plans for the program house would be an addition to the University’s ongoing project to remedy the housing shortage problem among undergraduate students on the Ithaca campus. At the meeting Lombardi explained his motivations and logistics for the proposal, which has been a work in progress since January 2016.

“We want to allow a capacity for growth for current students and a capacity for growth for future students,” he said. “Having to make decisions about off-campus housing fairly early creates a lot of upward pressure that I would like to solve through this strategy.”

The goal is to add 2,000 beds for freshmen and sophomores on campus, new dining facilities and an enhanced outdoor recreation space in the field next to Appel Commons.

“We very much want to get back to a place where we can guarantee housing for transfer students,” said Lombardi, when asked how to accommodate the addition of students mid-year.

Rebecca Herz ’18, college of engineering representative, asked about addressing a transportation issue that would come with building on the CC Lot, located next to the Robert Purcell Community Center.

Lombardi said that over the course of the expansion, committees would “undertake a robust study to understand all the limitations and what accommodations need to be made.”

Olivia Corn ’19, arts and sciences representative, asked about the pass/fail course that many West Campus residents take in order to be guaranteed a spot in their West Campus building, wanting to know how the new housing would help “the students who want to stay on campus but don’t want to have to deal with attending long events.”

Provost Michael Kotlikoff responded that, with the addition of housing on North Campus, students would not be forced to take the course and have living on West be their only option for on-campus housing.

“Now we’ll have other housing options for sophomores on North Campus that wouldn’t have that academic burden,” Kotlikoff said.

“We have a lot of opportunity ahead of us, and a lot of time to find solutions,” Lombardi said.