The University agreed to open a LGBTQ+ housing option within Mews Hall on North Campus in Fall 2019.
Vice President Ryan Lombardi’s decision, taken on Aug. 2, seconded a student-staffed committee’s recommendation, taking one step closer to fulfilling a 25-year old vision for housing catering to the LGBTQ+ community.
The LGBTQ+ housing option — called the “Loving House” by its advocates in the Student Assembly — will begin looking for its inaugural residents this fall as the room selection process for the 2019-20 academic year begins. The housing option will cost a programming fee of $30 for in-house residents and $15 for out-of-house members, in addition to the rent cost. That price tag is less than the activity fees charged by all other program houses — except for the Language House — which range between $40 and $110.
The committee, convened after President Martha Pollack gave a “supportive” response in March to a November S.A. resolution calling for the housing option, met with a group of administrators late last semester to “submit a proposal detailing some foundational elements of the Loving House,” according to Ian Wallace ’20, S.A. LGBTQ+ liaison at-large. Lombardi affirmatively responded to the proposal earlier this month, according to documents he shared with The Sun.
Specifically, Lombardi accepted the committee’s proposal of converting the “first floor (east side)” of Mews Hall and transforming it into the LGBTQ+ housing space.
The maximum capacity of 122 Edgemoor, the site originally proposed for the “Love House,” is only 22 students. In contrast, Mews Hall, one of the newest residential buildings on campus, has the capacity to house a maximum of 62 students on each floor. However, as the LGBTQ+ housing will be located only the east side of the first floor, it is unclear exactly how many students will have access to the housing option.
“During committee deliberations it was established that Edgemoor is not an accessible building,” Wallace said. “One of the administrators on the committee proposed Mews since it has much more accessible facilities. In the end the committee was pretty united on recommending that the Loving House be located in Mews.”
Lombardi wrote that he accepts the committee’s suggestion that the complex’s residential hall director and residential advisors “should be closely aligned and familiar with resources available and training necessary to support LGBTQIA+ students.”
He further added that these residential staff should coordinate with the LGBT Resource Center in reviewing residential applications, creating programming and other matters.
To meet the goal of opening the house by Fall 2019, Lombardi called for the creation of “an inclusive steering committee” co-chaired by members of the residential programs and the Dean of Students Office, which will be tasked with helping to implement the residence plan over the next academic year.
“The previous committee focused more on logistics and location, whereas the new one will focus more on the function of the house and what roles the RA and RD will take,” Wallace wrote in an email to The Sun.
The University shot down two resolutions calling for the establishment of a similar housing option catering to gender minorities, 25 years ago, citing concerns that it may negatively affect the campus climate.
“When I found the original  proposal in the archives, I saw how much and how little has changed since the 1990s,” Wallace previously told The Sun. “Queer people still face a lot of discomfort in their living arrangements. I’ve experienced this firsthand.”