Frequently Asked Questions
What should I know before I move into the residence halls?
Moving into your college residence hall can be exciting and intimidating for many students. Students who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender (LGBT) may have specific questions or concerns about living in the residence halls. One important thing to know is that you are not alone. We are proud to say that at NIU our goal is to provide a welcoming and supportive environment for LGBT students. Each year residence hall staff are educated about the needs and concerns of LGBT students. Also, we have an active and vibrant LGBT community on campus with many activities and resources to support you.
This is a decision only you can make. There can be both risks and benefits in coming out. If you have concerns about coming out, you might want to talk with a residence hall staff member, other students you trust, or staff at the LGBT Resource Center to get a sense of the climate for LGBT students on your floor and/or in your residence hall. It might also be helpful to spend some time thinking about the possible responses you might encounter, how you will handle them, and what sources of support you have available to help you with this process. The LGBT Resource Center provides a guide “Before Coming Out: Questions to Consider” that is available on their website: click here
There are several options available for finding support. Your floor Community Advisor (CA) is there to help everyone feel welcome and included on your floor. If you are hesitant to talk to your CA, you can seek out other residence hall staff members to help you with any questions or concerns. The LGBT Resource Center is a great place to go for support for any LGBT-related concerns or needs. You can also find fellow students, staff or faculty who are supportive allies through the NIU Ally Program. Volunteers in the Ally Program display the NIU Ally symbol on door signs or buttons to identify themselves as supporters of the LGBT population.
We know that transgender students may have specific needs, and we will be happy to work with you to find a living option that best meets your needs. We encourage you to contact us before you begin the room selection process so that we may answer your specific questions and best assist you. We recognize that the needs of transgender students may vary depending on their particular situation, so we will assist transgender students on a case by case basis.
We encourage you to let your CA, another residence hall staff member, or Resource Center staff know about the situation as soon as possible. They can provide guidance and work with you to resolve the conflict. Depending on the problem, possible solutions could be as simple as a conversation or could involve programs and training to raise awareness among others in the residence halls.
We take any instances of harassment or discrimination seriously and respond accordingly. University policies prohibit offensive, discriminatory or harassing behavior based on an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity. If you or anyone you know experiences any harassment or discrimination based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity, we encourage you to report it. As with other LGBT-related residence hall problems, you can speak with your CA, another residence hall staff member, or staff at the LGBT Resource Center. You can also seek assistance through the Office of the Ombudsman or the University Police.