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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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My son is a freshman at a large university in Indiana. His

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My son is a freshman at a large university in Indiana. His roommate told him 3 days prior to him going to college that he is gay and please not bring up the subject while his parents were there. My son is very uncomfortable with the roommates alternative lifestyle. The roommate has entertained a "friend" twice in the room the first week of school making my son so uncomfortable that he has been sleeping in another students room. We spoke to the school and requested our son be transfered to another dorm room. School did respond on the university level and told us our son would have to come and live with the boy and if it did not work out they would make an attempt to change his living arrangement. So far the one living arrangement they have offered has not been feasible for our son to move to. My question, does an 18yo male heterosexual student have any legal recourse being forced to live with a homosexual where you find this religiously and morally unacceptable?
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 9 years ago.
First off, your son is considered by the universty to be an adult, regardless of the fact that you are paying tuition. If your son is uncomfortable with the situation, then he personally needs to go to housing or the RA on his floor and seek a room change. The university will not respond to parent's requests, even if parents are paying the bills. Second, universites all have policies about having guests in rooms and if there is a conflict with a roommate objecting to the "visitor" then there is a procedure for your son to follow and it begins with notifying his roommate and then going to the RA and then to the housing office if it is not resolved.

Your son would have to make the complaint and seek the change on his own and your efforts are really fruitless unless your son takes his own stance and seeks the move.

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Customer: replied 9 years ago.
My son spoke with in this order, the RA, the head of the RA's, the head of the dorm, and VP of Housing. We spoke to the VP of Housing as a followup to his conversation. Yes there are rules and the roommate is in compliance with the rules. The botXXXXX XXXXXne is my son does not want to live in a room with with a boy engaging in gay sexual behavior. He does not want to live with a boy that may look at him in a sexual way. He is uncomfortable undressing and sleeping with his boy. My son spent 4 years in all boys catholic high school and taught that his behavior is wrong. He has told the boy he respects that he is gay but cant deal with his gayness in the room. So basically you are telling me he has to suck it up and deal with it? Would you put as Israel Jew and a Syrian arab in a room together? Would you put a boy and girl together and let them work it out? NO I think you need to think this one out a bit.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 9 years ago.
He will have to wait until the switch period, which is generally within a few weeks after the switch period, OR he can find another roommate and work out a swap. The university does not have to simply switch your son unless there is some danger to him from the roommate. I understand the moral and religious objection, but this is certainly not the same as putting a boy and a girl together in the same room.

Also, colleges do indeed mix "Israel jews and Syrian Arabs" in rooms and I have personally observed it. Unlike high school, where children attend with people of similar moral and social values, part of the college experience is to teach tolerance and the ability to deal with all persons on a professional and collegial level. Your son will end up encountering gay bosses in his life and many other people he will not like and he will need to learn how to deal with them diplomatically. I do not believe he should suffer through the entire year with this roommate if they cannot get along, but the university will not just switch roommates because one has a problem with the other's sexuality and the university could actually end up sued by the homosexual student for discrimination for doing so without following the same exact process it requires for all roommate changes. If the roommate comes on to your son or attempts to physically assault him, then the university would have grounds to make the switch, but making the switch just because someone is a homosexual without more without following the established policy of the university would open the university up to a suit for discrimination based upon sexual preference.

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
OK I understand what you are saying but look, the work place is not the living place. Working with someone is not taking your clothes off and sleeping in the same room with them. It is not having their sexual activity happening in your bed room. And my son has totally dealt with this kid diplomatically. He is willing to put up with his tattoos, pieced tongue and blue tinted hair and EMO friends, but not his gay sexual activity happening in his bedroom. He told the boy "I respect that you're gay but I cannot deal with your gayness in this room." The roommate told him he will keep his gay activity on his side of the room. My son has a learning disability and highly distractible. He is at college to be successful and not have this roommate situation distract him from what he is suppose to be doing at school. Why should he have this obstacle and I don't buy well thats the luck of the draw.
What if I wanted to sue for reverse discrimination? I know I sound like a nut case but I am pissed.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 9 years ago.
If there is gay sex or any sex going on in the room, there is a university policy regarding guests in the rooms and permission or consent of the roommate. If the activity is interfering with your son's enjoment of the room, then there is a policy for him to follow in making a complaint to the university. The only problem is if the sole reason for his request to change rooms is the fact that the roommate is a homosexual, then the university will not break its policy because it would be sued for discrimination. However, if the roommate is breaking other policies, then the university can take action on that basis.

You do not have a reverse discrimination claim. You just need to get your son to look at this objectively and remove the "gayness" from the situation and deal with the rules as if this roommate were not gay. So if the roommate is violating the guest policy, and almost every university today makes roommates sign a contract with eachother about distractions, visitors, parties etc, then he needs to pursue his complaints based on those violations and leave the "gayness" out of it.

I understand you are upset and you just need to emphasize to your son that he needs to use his head, read the housing policies and make his complaints about the roommate based upon those policies. This would be an educational experience for your son in teaching him how to use rules to his advantage.

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