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Christian university offers separate accommodation for gay students

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Texas Christian University is to provide LGBT students and their straight “allies” with special accommodation as part of a new scheme designed to allow like-minded students to live together.

Shelly Newkirk, a TCU sophomore who is gay, helped create the community inclusion scheme in the Fort Worth campus.

It is available as part of the US university’s Learning Living Community programme.

The Star Telegram reports that Newkirk helped lead the effort for the DiversCity Q housing area.

She said her vision is that it will be a place where gay and straight students “can interact and hang out.”

Students can choose from other communities such as fine arts, heath and wellness and leadership and strengths.

On TCU’s residence website, a member of the ‘Fine Arts Living-Learning Community’ said: “The best part about living in a LLC is the close community formed between all the residents.”

The TCU associate director for residential life, David Cooper, says that the Living Learning scheme is “a chance for students to be part of a unique experience”.

TCU is not the first US university to incorporate LGBT residential facilities. Louis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon has provided a few rooms a semester “available for a gay male and a gay female to live together” since 1995.

Vanessa Fawbush, the PR officer for the university says of the scheme, which interviews prospective students so as to avoid straight couples cohabiting: “My understanding is that it’s nice to have the option.”

The University of California-Riverside also provides “gender-neutral” residences. The director of its LGBT Resource Centre, Nancy Tubbs, said: “Because straight people can join the living-learning community, it’s not self-segregating.”

Eight students have committed to the TCU “DiversCity Q” programme so far, Newkirk stated.

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