Texas Christian U. Cancels Plan for Gay Student Housing

Texas Christian University has for now scrapped plans for a gay-themed student housing, pending a review by the school's officials.

The university's chancellor, Victor J. Boschini, Jr., announced the cancellation in a statement Monday, saying university officials "will assess whether the concept of housing residential students based on themes supports the academic mission of the institution, as well as our objective to provide a total university experience."

The DiversCity Q community was set to launch this fall as part of the Tom Brown-Pete Wright apartments. Eight students had signed up to join the community which would have been opened to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students and their supporters.

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The themed housing was part of a new initiative by the university's Office of Residential Services and Living Learning Communities to allow students to create their own community based on shared interests.

Plans for several other "living learning" communities, including themed housing for Christianity, patriotism, fine arts and marine biology, were also nixed.

Boschini said Nowell Donovan, TCU academic vice chancellor and provost, will head a committee of faculty, staff and students to review the concept of the living learning communities and recommend guidelines for the program.

The recommendations will be forwarded to the executive committee of the Board of Trustees and then to the full Board, he said.

Until the Board determines the new guidelines, themed housing programs already in place, such as the Green House for students interested in the environment and the Health and Wellness Community for students interested in healthy living, will continue to be available, according to Boshchini.

Boschini's announcement comes one week after news of the college's decision to offer the gay student housing sparked a national debate.

Supporters of the idea said the DiversCity Q community would serve as a safe haven for GLBT students and a location where they would be able have open dialogue.

Some critics of the proposed gay-themed housing said the community was a form a self-segregation.

Others were surprised that a Christian university would offer housing for homosexuals.

TCU, a private university with historical ties to Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), has a current enrollment of 7,500 undergraduate students. According to the college's Web site, over 59 religious groups are represented in the student body with the largest representation coming from Roman Catholic, United Methodist and Baptist denominations.

In the statement, Boschini said TCU "will maintain its long-standing commitment to the inclusiveness of all people. To that end, our numerous and diverse support groups will continue to play a vital role on our campus."

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