A   C o m p r e h e n s i v e   M a n u a l
vidual letters with a petition.  Highlight 
be lgbt.  Additionally, they should be far
ing the type and extent of harassment suf 
enough along in their own coming out
fered by lgbt people in the residence halls
process that they can be open and sup 
is an important and compelling part of
portive to others at all stages of "out 
making the argument for the creation of a
ness."  It would be difficult for the RD
lgbt living option.
and RA to provide the appropriate sup 
port for the floor, if they are not well 
Location
adjusted, out members of the lgbt com 
munity.  It is imperative that the residents
Where should the floor be located?  What
feel like they can approach the staff for
is the ideal number of students?  What
support without feeling marginalized.
will the male/female ratio be?  These are
all questions that you will need to answer.
Community Development
The experience at UMass has suggested
that a traditional double room (housing
Finally, you will want to consider how to
two people), located in a predominantly
create a supportive environment for the
female building, in a racially and ethni 
program.  This will include providing
cally diverse area, will work the best.  It
ongoing staff training and development,
is also desirable to locate the floor in a
as well as building strong relationships
relatively small building, with up to 150
with other groups and offices located on
students.  The floor should also be locat 
the campus. 
ed so that it is accessible to people with
disabilities.
Providing good staff training and devel 
opment is crucial to the success of the
If at all possible the floor should be locat 
program.  Some things to think about are
ed on the top floor of the building so that
the training of the R.A. on the floor, as
there is little unwanted traffic flowing
well as the training for the rest of the
through the corridor.  This will contribute
R.A. s within the building or area.  You
to the feeling of safety for all residents of
must also consider the entire staff that
that floor.  The reason for having doubles
will in some way be connected to the
and not singles is that doubles help to fos 
building, including the hall government
ter community building while singles
representatives; all student, professional
have been shown to hinder it.  Suite style
and paraprofessional workers; the custo 
living spaces will also prove to be a hin 
dial and security staffs; and the office
drance to community building.  A pre 
workers.  All of these groups should
dominantly female building will also
receive some sort of training on lgbt
contribute to a more supportive environ 
issues.  
ment as, historically and statistically,
women have been more supportive of
Other groups and offices on campus are
lgbt people.  
also important areas to target for training
and other types of outreach.  In particular,
Staff
the office that makes housing assign 
ments, the dean of students office, mental
The next thing to consider is the staffing.
health services, staff at all levels in stu 
We at UMass believe that both the RD
dent affairs, and the campus police
and the RA assigned to the floor should
department should all be trained on lgbt
O r g a n i z i n g   F l o o r s   i n   R e s .   H a l l s     M     2 9 1






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