University of Limerick launches LGBT+ housing to help students adapt to college life
THE University of Limerick (UL) has launched LGBT+ housing to allow students to easily adapt to university life.
Those applying for accommodation for this Septembers uptake will be able to opt for accommodation only for lesbian, gay and trangender students.
College accommodation bosses say the move will ensure there is "a safe, secure living environment for all residents".
The flats themselves will be within the wider halls of residence on campus - and the college has already revealed it has received over 200 applications from students across 30 countries.
There are 2,800 student beds on campus.
UL becomes the first college in Ireland to provide the scheme, and it follows in the footsteps of the University of Sheffield in South Yorkshire, England.
Campus Life services villages manager Carol-Jane Shanley, who is spearheading the initiative said: “Campus Life Services has long been committed to providing the best student living experience for students at the University of Limerick.
“This involves ensuring high quality accommodation facilities and service in a secure environment for all our residents. It is with this intention of providing a safe, secure living environment for all residents that we came up with the rainbow housing programme.”
She acknowledged that rainbow housing will not solve the problems of every LGBTQ student in the Uuniversity.
“However, it can create the conversation in which people can learn from one naother.
“The best way to fight homophobia and transphobia is to educate and that’s what we hope to do with rainbow housing,” Ms Shanley added.
Dr Amanda Haynes, the co-director of UL’s hate and hostility research group added: “UL will be enriched by the presence on campus of a resource that encourages all of our LGBT students and allies to be active, critical, political, disruptive and constructive contributors to our collective campus life.”
She also said rainbow housing is not about “self-segregation”.
”It’s about giving LGBT students access to a supportive base in which to launch themselves comfortable, proudly and assertively in campus life.
“For those LGBT people who choose not to live in LGBT housing, and there will be many, the presence of rainbow housing is just as important.
“It provides visibility for the community on campus which ,for students in many cases, coming from schools, where they may have felt culturally invisible can be very impactful,” Dr Haynes added.
When the University of Sheffield introduced the scheme, it was criticised in some quarters, with Simon Thompson, director of Accommodation for Students warning it could promote segregation on campus.