Official: Housing review fosters exchange of ideas

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    The recent media coverage surrounding the university’s decision to remove the new Living Learning Communities may create a climate more conducive for an open exchange of ideas about the effectiveness of LLCs, a university official said.

    “I think it actually may create more of an exchange of ideas,” said Don Mills, vice chancellor for student affairs. “As part of the review process I would hope that a lot of people have an opportunity to voice their opinions and have town hall meetings and all those things so that we can get a good cross section of people voicing their opinions.”

    Chancellor Victor Boschini said he doesn’t know if removing the LLCs will limit an open exchange of ideas but, he said, that’s a topic the review committee will discuss.

    Mills said he received both support and opposition for the new LLCs, and that the reasoning from both sides was pertinent to the decision-making process.

    “I think it really reflected a wide spectrum of ideas and probably reinforced the idea that it was a good thing for us to examine over a longer period in a calm atmosphere,” Mills said.

    Shelly Newkirk, sophomore social work major and co-creator of the DiversCity Q LLC, said she encouraged input not only from LLC supporters but also from students who thought that an LLC would be too confining and would not allow adequate space for personal growth.

    “If a person is allowed to develop into their whole diverse person – say, they are gay – and they need that space to help develop their identity, then I’m all for it,” Newkirk said.

    Mills said the recent publicity surrounding the approved DiversCity Q LLC may have started the exchange of ideas about the LLC but, he said, the exchange will continue throughout the committee review. He said Residential Services was trying to inform LLC residents of the decision when it sent out an e-mail on Monday asking students to refer media questions to the Office of Communications.

    “This is something that the media is playing up and we just want to be certain that students didn’t feel like they had to defend TCU or defend LLCs,” Mills said.

    Harrison Hanvey, a junior mechanical engineering major and LLC resident, said Tuesday he had to read over the e-mail again to be sure he was allowed to talk.

    “I don’t want to say anything because my last impression was that I wasn’t supposed to say anything,” he said.

    Tracy Syler-Jones, associate vice chancellor and executive director of marketing and communication operations, said her office coordinated with Residential Services on the e-mail with the intention of managing the number of phone calls they were receiving, not to silence students.

    Syler-Jones said coordination is necessary in an institution such as a university.

    “Coordination is important,” she said. “As an organization you certainly share information – you coordinate information.”

    Rachel Siron, hall director for Carter and Samuelson halls and author of the e-mail, declined to comment.