Dear Editor,

I am a student at East Tennessee State University. I have made public my issue with the department of housing for its apathetic attitude towards gay rights.

I have been told by an esteemed member of housing that they told my former roommate that having a problem with my sexuality is unfortunate; eventually, however, he was re-assigned another room exclusively on the grounds of his homophobia. I am ashamed of the housing department, which continues to treat me as an isolated incident if not an irrational radical, and I demand that they see this situation is not so sloppily handled again.

I nominated the idea of requiring two students two meet before one is re-assigned on discriminatory grounds; this would provide closure to the student discriminated against and exposure to the student who so badly needs it. I have been exquisitely patient with the department of housing, and nothing has been done to further diversity and rid this campus of intolerance.

By telling my former roommate that his feelings towards me were ungrounded, the housing department is under the impression they did their job to emulate the mission statement they boast as an implement of equality and educational opportunities. They cannot see that by giving him another room, especially without giving the two of us the opportunity to have a session of mediation and an attempt at mutual understanding, they have acted as agents of homophobia.

My former roommate had a precious chance to see beyond his stunted understanding of homosexuality. I demand that housing exercise the promises of its mission statement and create a policy that requires a period of mediation.

Furthering diversity is not an irrational ambition. It is a very possible, very simple process that must be enacted by the organizations that comprise of individuals who can make great, positive change with steadfast action instead of apathetic reactions to the multitude of situations such as my own.I will not stop until I see that the department of housing seeks the true implementation of its mission statement’s promises.

Thank you, Out and About Newspaper, for allowing me to spread awareness to Johnson City that not only is discrimination still lingering in the region: there are those who will most assuredly stand against it and seek the change needed to make this country one in which everyone has access to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness without fear.

Sam Smith
ETSU student

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