February 1, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 21°F


LGBT housing requires more fall applicants

As the pilot year for the House of Roy comes to a close, residents are finding that there are not enough new applications to continue next year.

Junior Ben Jeffirs, resident assistant for the House of Roy, stands in Eastman Hall. The LGBT-friendly housing is lacking applicants for next year. Claudia Pietrzack/The Ithacan

The House of Roy, located on the even end of the first floor of Eastman, is a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender friendly community. It is meant for students looking for sexual and gender diversity and acceptance.

Residential learning communities at the college require 50 percent of residents to be returning students, with the rest new students. The House of Roy can house 14 residents. Of the seven needed to return, only four have agreed.

Ron Trunzo, the associate director of Residential Life and Judicial Affairs, said the application due date has been extended to May 1.

Trunzo said the House of Roy’s situation is not entirely representative of all on-campus residential learning communities for this year.

“Overall application numbers ebb and flow each year,” Trunzo said. In addition the House of Roy, application numbers have been low for the German and French communities, while there has been a resurgence in the Sustainably Conscious and Honors communities, Trunzo said.

Vickie Woodhead, residence director for Eastman, Hilliard, Hood, and Holmes Halls, said if the new community doesn’t foster enough interest, the college will not allow empty spaces.

Woodhead said the community’s selective application process discourages students who would not be LGBT-friendly. As a result, there are empty spaces.

“We didn’t want it to be a negative environment for people who did choose to live there, and as a result we have some empty beds which in terms of housing is not a desirable option,” she said.

Woodhead said a reason for the low number of applicants might be  that LGBT students feel comfortable living in regular communities at the college.

“A lot of it is just that as a returning student, you probably have areas that you’re already comfortable with,” she said. “You have friends, and if your friends are all living in another building, you’ll want to live there.”

Woodhead also said she hopes part of the reason students are not returning is because of the college’s friendly LGBT atmosphere.

Because of low applicants, House of Roy supporters have stepped up advertising for next semester. Representatives have set up tables in Campus Center and put up posters.

Sophomore Eddie Odio said living in the House of Roy has been a great experience because it offers a sense of community for LGBT students.

“I like it because I can be myself,” Odio said. “I’m not afraid of someone saying, ‘Is he gay?’”

While there are still not as many applicants as needed, most members of the community are hopeful that it will continue next semester.

“As a staff, we have a real interest in this community continuing,” she said. “I feel like we’ve done all that we can.”