University of Oklahoma’s Queer Inclusion on Campus group recently presented a list of recommended policy changes to the administration. What’s coming as a result of the list, is their own separate study lounge.
Why did these kids need a “safer” environment? Were LGBTQ kids being harmed? Was there violence or personal safety issues? That wasn’t mentioned in the article and I didn’t see anything in a brief scan of their Facebook page. Safety was listed in the top 2 items in the recommendations of their full report, but still no real safety issues. Reports of students feeling uncomfortable, nervous, or even fearful (because of insecurities) do not equate to being “unsafe” in the truest sense of the word.
Now, LGBTQ students will have a separate study lounge as a “safe space” where they will supposedly be free from the harassment and hostility they face on campus.
A college campus is a microcosm of US cities across our great nation. And it’s typically that final training ground for these young adults before they enter “the real world.”
So what are we teaching them by separating LGBTQ students into their own area? LGBTQ’s will tend to congregate in that environment where they are ONLY around others like themselves. Which means non-LGBTQ’s will spend less time around them. How will either side ever learn to live and work together? This is only going to prolong, and likely increase, incidences of insensitivity.
Instead of teaching ALL the kids (and administrators) what true tolerance and respect looks like, we’re handicapping them (through segregation!) for 4 years and will have to deal with the problem in the workplace. Won’t that be fun?
And in a few years they’ll be demanding to know why they’ve been segregated on college campuses…
Photo credit OUQuIC