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University of Copenhagen relays housing information to students from landlords that are homophobic. Unacceptable, says student
The University of Copenhagen is helping to make extreme, homophobic, statements acceptable. This is the claim of Joan Escolà-Escribà, a medical student from Barcelona, Spain, after reading a landlord’s requirement on the University of Copenhagen housing list:
»No homosexual, bisexual or transsexuals are welcomed in my apartment. There are also some other rules that we have to talk about.«
This requirement is communicated from one landlord to all the potential international student roommates on the University of Copenhagen’s so-called direct housing list. The direct housing list is a list of rooms for leasing sent by the International Office’s housing co-ordinators to international students on request.
It is primarily made up of housing offers given to the university by private persons who have contacted the University in order to offer a room to a student.
Joan Escolà-Escribà, is shocked by this landlord’s requirement. »Isn’t there any limit to landladies-landlords’ requests? I find it homophobic and unacceptable,« he says.
He has written to the housing co-ordinator at the International Office, telling them that about his discomfort in reading this requirement.
The International Office has, so far, not been available for comment to the University Post. But they write in an e-mail response to Joan that »we don’t necessarily sympathize with everything the landlords write and they often have unusual requests, which might be rather discriminatory against people based on age, gender, nationality, language etc. This particular case is of course rather extreme in this regard.«
»However it’s not something we want to interfere with. It would be in the interest of everyone that this landlord is not matched with tenants he doesn’t want.«
Joan himself found himself so provoked by the statement that he wrote directly to the landlord. He asked him whether he was interested in having him as a roommate and whether he had »wondered about his own sexuality«.
The landlord’s reply to him was that »people like you, by the official law of the government, should be executed«.
»What gives you the right to write about the room when I was very unambiguous about the requirements? Truly impolite. I think a thief or a murderer are better people than your kind.«
Copenhagen is known, internationally, as a gay-friendly city, Joan says. Now he wonders why the University as an institution is not more careful.
»I am grateful to the University of Copenhagen for helping me find accommodation,« says Joan, »but, some people are using the list as a platform for homo-transphobic propaganda. Isn’t this against University of Copenhagen principles?«
»By communicating these requirements, or not at least not censoring them, the University of Copenhagen is helping to make homophobic statements legitimate«.
Subsequent to this article was published, the International Office has commented this article here:
International Office: Homophobic ad was a mistake.
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