COLUMN: One step forward, two steps back

Nova Uriostegui

COLUMNIST

The True Colors living community is a mediocre answer to a very real problem for residential students of the LGBT+ community on campus: Safety and accessibility. While the college is providing a safe space, it still is shortchanging its students of a safe and accessible living experience and that needs to be changed.

True Colors is a living community dedicated to providing a safe housing option for members of the LGBT+ community and their allies, however it is located in an old building with no air-conditioning, not easily accessible, and not to mention the chances of flooding that can occur. It is these restrictions that make it impossible for someone with asthma, allergies, or any other medical condition that requires air conditioning to live in this housing, thus they have to make a decision between safety and their health, which isn’t one someone should have to make when living on campus.

If we began updated dorms, then we wouldn’t run into this problem. There should be no excuse why some students have air-conditioning options and others don’t, especially at an expensive school like Elmhurst College.

Every residential student deserves to be able to live and learn safely.

A lot of LGBT+ individuals have no place to escape as they are harassed by fellow residents, or have little resources provided to them by residence staff. True Colors is supposed to combat this, but how effective is it if they can’t even find refuge here due to things out of their control?

LGBT+ housing has been proposed in the past, but has been rejected numerous times, but when the honors program proposed their living-learning community in the same location, it was met with a yes, and now True Colors is in the lower level of Schick Hall. People say it is because the honors program brought up their proposal first, but this is the first year anyone has really been hearing about it, whereas conversations about LGBT+ gender inclusive housing for several years.

The biggest issue is not the honors community, but with the accessibility and quality of the dorms both communities were given. It really looks bad for Elmhurst College.

The minority community who face safety issues on a daily basis solely on their sexuality and/or gender identity, are given an old dorm that is barely livable during the first few weeks of the semester due to the temperature, while the honors community who are held in prestige get to live in a newer dorm with better living conditions all around.

If Elmhurst College was an ally like they market themselves, they would either update the Schick space to be more physically inclusive, move both communities into Cureton, or find a more inclusive space for True Colors because this “solution” just isn’t it.

Just because we are grateful to have the option doesn’t mean it’s all perfect. Many of the dorms need to be updated, but the location of True Colors should start pressing the college to update the buildings or risk it seeming like the college plays favorites.