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The queer housing announcement was made during USask's Pride flag raising event on June 17. (Photo: Chris Putnam)

USask launches queer housing on campus

Students will receive customized support, service offerings and programming as well as all services and supports offered to members of the larger residence community

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The University of Saskatchewan (USask) has announced a new pilot project to support LGBTQI2S+ students.

Starting in September 2019, self-identified queer students living in the College Quarter residence on campus may participate in a pilot project where they can choose to live with other queer students.

The students receive customized support, service offerings and programming while also integrating into, and benefiting from, all services and supports offered to members of the larger residence community.

Dr. Simonne Horwitz
Dr. Simonne Horwitz (D.Phil), a history professor in the College of Arts and Science and co-chair of the Provost’s Advisory Committee on Gender and Sexual Diversity, speaks at the queer housing announcement. (Photo: Chris Putnam)

“It is vitally important that queer students have the option of living with other queer students in an environment where they can support each other,” said Simonne Horwitz, professor of history in the College of Arts and Science and co-chair of the Provost’s Advisory Committee on Gender and Sexual Diversity.

“Students in queer housing will be fully integrated into general campus life but will have a place to call their own where they are totally accepted for who they are and will not need to explain themselves to anyone.”

The Residence Services Office has been working towards continued expansion of supports and education to benefit all of its students, including the addition of a counsellor-in-residence, more student and professional staff on-call 24/7, and increased programming in areas of inclusivity.

To support queer residents, the Residence Services Office has added training for student and professional staff regarding queer content and building inclusive communities, included multiple gender categories on applications and added a personalized case-by-case process through which students are housed according to their identified genders. The goal is to make living in residence a more queer-positive experience for every student.

“We want students to see our residences as a caring and inclusive community, especially for anyone identifying as queer; we want them to know that our residences are a place they can call home and safely be themselves,” said Sarah Sotvedt, manager of Student Life at USask.

The entire university will benefit from the support and discovery that will arise from the program.

“We are so appreciative of this project and the students who are part of the pilot,” added Rhema Ferguson, assistant manager of Student Life at USask. “It would have been great to have this available or to see the visibility of queer supports in residences when I was a student, and we hope it will show students that they are valued in every aspect of their lives.”





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