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The Michigan Daily, 2005-10-20

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-.e-- -1.

0

Protecting Junior

ome parents
are just abso-
lutely crazy,"
LSA alum Jeff
Souva said.
"And some are
totally fine."
Souva, a short, smiley guy with
a genial voice who had been a part
of almost every gay organization on
campus, remembered his experience
working for University Housing while
coordinating summer orientation and
working in campus outreach.
"Parents would call up and would just
be so freaked by the fact when their stu-

dents had gay roommates," he said. "We
would hear so much about Stockwell
and the all-female residence halls."
But this was among many complaints:
roommates being too liberal, having too
many piercings or even too many signs
on the door.
This is not terribly common, but it is
a regular occurrence. Occasionally, par-
ents or their children write in the mar-
gins of the housing application that they
do not want a gay roommate (University
Housing gets all sorts of requests.). Now
that applications are online, University
Housing will occasionally get calls or
e-mails for these requests. They are
obviously not honored, said spokesman
Alan Levy.

"It's not frequent, but it's occasional.
And it's often with intensity," Levy said.
The only way to get around the situa-
tion is to choose a specific roommate in
advance, which 20 percent of all appli-
cants do.
Sampson said students generally
coming to campus are more aware of
gay and lesbian issues than in previous
years. In the first few weeks of school,
the people who need the most educating
are the parents.
"Especially this past semester, it's
parents," Sampson said. "There's a lot
of questions and a paranoia, an uncer-
tainty about 'what does this mean,' " he
said.

__ _ .

. ...... .

i

What other schools do
hree years ago, a couple
of students at the Univer-
sity of Iowa approached
Rob Latham, an associ-
ate professor of English,
American studies and
sexuality studies, with
an idea. The students were concerned
about some isolated incidents in the
residence halls where gay students felt
targeted and stigmatized..
They asked the university to create
"safe space" for students "interested in
sexuality studies," a certificate program
at the school.
Without little difficulty, the students
got what they wanted. The university
created a living-learning community
for 18 to 21 gay students and their allies.
It planned to have guest speakers, film
series and various social events for stu-
dents.
Few people - only three or four -
applied. The program was supposed to
start this year.
What happened? Latham said the
problem was that the university didn't
open the program up to freshman, who
overwhelmingly populate the schools'
residence halls.
"We imagined that many of the stu-
dents would be in the program, but they
didn't have to," said Latham, who was
set to run the program.
A slew of gay-focused housing
options have sprouted up over the past
few years, mostly at school on the East
and West Coasts. The programs are
very diverse, ranging from hallways

specifically tailored to gays and lesbi-
ans to programs for students interested
in social justice. Tufts University's pro-
gram is called "The Rainbow House"
and offers a "gay-friendly" environ-
ment. The universities of Maine, Mas-
sachusetts and Oregon have also tried
such programs.
These programs have met with mixed
reviews and mixed success. Some stu-
dents have written in campus newspa-
pers calling it "segregation," while other
schools have tried and failed.
Two years ago, for example, Wes-
leyin University created a "gender neu-
tral" wing of a residence hall. But most
of those who applied for the hall were
simply interested in gender issues, and
the school realized it "inadvertently had
segregated those people from the rest of
the community," said Justin Harmon,
Wesleyan's communications director.
"These were a group of students that
were not benefiting from that diversity,"
Harmon said.
But at the University of Maine, the
program has been quite successful. The
Social Equity Community at the school
comprises one floor in one of the school's
residence halls. The program was start-
ed by Wilde Stein - the school's gay,
lesbian, bisexual and transgender group
- and it explores issues from immigra-
tion to nondiscrimination policies.
"I don't think that we're segregating
in that there's no forced choice in this.
It's an option," said AnneMarie Reed,
associate director for residence life and
programs at the University of Maine.
Gay students here are mixed about gen-
der neutral and identity-based housing.

Yeah, that's co
It's Over Your Head |
By Austin Dingwall

litt

C

Architecture Column

£,Oo

1,C

I

fitting on a concrete bench in
front of Burton Memorial Tower
while gazing toward the Mod-
ern Languages Building can take you
back in time. Unattractive, ugly and
outdated, the building is like opening
a photo album of when you were an
infant sitting on your parent's bell-
bottomed lap amidst an olive-green
shag carpet and orange-yellow walls.
We may think, "Man, what were my
parents thinking with that decor?
That's downright hideous. I guess
that was the style back then." The
MLB's style is a thing of the past, and
contemporary architecture has a new
agenda. While yesterday's designs
placed the importance of style below
a building's form and function,
today's architects are taking another
look at how their buildings look.
As a highly ranked university, we
pride ourselves on a rich academic
tradition and solid athletic program,
but in the end, we still just want to
be cool. Try to define cool in words
and come up short. "Those shoes
are cool. I like those." Why? "I don't
know, man. They're just cool." It is an
intangible but unmistakable phenom-
enon, and that is exactly the point.
Yet cool architecture is not simply a
passing fad, it is about how we expe-
rience the inside of buildings. In the
age where the most pressing issue is
what's hot and what's not, the Uni-
versity is about to get a flavor of cool
architecture courtesy of Brad Cloep-
fil and Allied Works Architecture.
Like many contemporary build-
ings embracing the essence of cool,
the University of Michigan Museum
of Art expansion is all about expe-
rience. There is no mimicking of
historic style, there is no political
commentary. The building as a state-
ment, the critical interpretations, the
cultural implications - these issues
have wrought building style for too
long, and many architects want to
move past that. In the words of Clo-
epfil, "The expansion will serve as a
catalyst for new activities and expe-
riences, where the boundaries of art,
life and landscape merge to become
one."
No stranger to the art world, Clo-
epfil began his practice interested in
landscape art. That focus is readily
seen in his acclaimed Maryhill Over-
look project - a rectilinear, concrete
ribbon capturing both views' and
volumes of space along a vast coun-
tryside. Because his designs are so
attentive to atmosphere by rigorously
defining materiality, detail and craft,
Cloepfil's structures can both respect-
fully house art and also become art in

SHUBRA OHRI/Daily
Renovations on the University of Michigan Museum of Art are scheduled to
begin in 2006.

Healthy, male subjects, ages 25-64
needed to participate in a randomized
medication study of Viagra and
Levitra. The study involves multiple
visits and medication will be provided.
Participants will be paid. For more
information call the Urology Research
Office @ 734-936-9267 or e-mail
pak@umich.edu. (IRB Archive #2004-
1000)

its own right. His firm, Allied Works
Architecture, has also designed the
Museum of Contemporary Arts and
Design in New York, the new Con-
temporary Art Museum in St. Louis
and an expansion for Seattle Art
Museum. Already, his design for the
expansion of the UMMA has won a
design award from AlA's New York
chapter. Clearly, many have seen his
design that will become State Street's
entrance to the diag and have said,
"That's cool."
The expansion will extend the
museum's north side and will face
State Street as a neighbor to Angell
Hall. Crisp, white walls guide the
interior. Glass provides a visual
transparency between within and
without while giving a sense of
openness and light. The sun filters
through the ceiling to provide radi-
ant illumination from above while
still protecting the art from harmful
UV rays. Equal attention is given to
the external experience, shaping a
court that both directs and invites.
And at night, the building's translu-
cent design will glow for those who
pass by. Focusing on beautiful spaces
rather than pure structural form, the
expansion easily bridges historic and
contemporary style. Yes, we can say
that the building's function will be
satisfied with an elegant design, and
true, we can declare that the form
will respect the surrounding univer-
sity structures. Both these elements
enrich the design, but its style is just

as important.
As one of the last buildings to be
erected on the campus's original 40
acres, it is important that the muse-
um expansion reflects this emerging
architectural style. The strength of the
University's built landscape lies within
its varied form. We have the historic
buildings covered with ivy and those
anchored with fluted columns. A design
like the one for the expansion will only
add to the rich repertoire of architecture
on campus, but more importantly we
will experience the building thinking,
"This is pretty cool."
Austin thinks all art is cool. He can
be reached at adingwal@umich.edu.

October
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* Residenc
* Off-Camj
7--.
* Ts ofs-W
An,<Otherl
be give-awao

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8B - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, October 20, 2005

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