Kent State offering ‘living-learning community’ for LGBTQ students

KENT, Ohio - Kent State University has set aside part of one floor of a campus dormitory for students who associate with the LGBTQ community and their supporters.

The 'Living-Learning Community' allows students with something in common to stay close together and hopefully support one another.

Many colleges house honors students, athletes, and ROTC students together.

But housing LGBTQ students on the same floor of a dormitory is unique.

"This is everybody's home for the next nine months and the goal is to create an environment where nobody feels that they are not welcomed at home. So they don't have to worry about being themselves at home and they can instead focus on their studies," said Kayden Maclay, an advertising major who serves as the community's Resident Assistant.

The university says many times students in the LGBTQ community feel as though they are marginalized.

"I thought I wouldn't be able to study, I wouldn't be able to do my day-to-day schedule without having to worry about like, what bathrooms or what people thought of me if Inhold hands with a girl, boy, whatever it was," said Katie Wichelmann.

Some say they know of students who do not even have support from their own family.

Dane Miller came all the way from Arizona just because of the unique living arrangements at Kent.

Korb Hall is a six story gender neutral dorm with single person bathrooms.

Those in the LGBTQ community share their floor with more than 20 other students.

The university says all of its dorms are at 100% capacity, but there is a process for anyone who requests a transfer to another dorm.

Those in the LGBTQ community expect only that their dorm mates will learn something about tolerance from them and treat them with dignity.

"I can't force you to love and accept everybody on this floor but I can require you to be respectful to everybody. You are going to accept everybody's identity and you are going to treat people with basic human respect and I'm hoping that in creating that air of respect and that air of common basic human dignity that we can help build allies," said Maclay.