When Andrew and Jed Romriell moved to Aggie Village in May, they were informed by their resident assistant that they are the first gay couple to live there.
Richard Workman, family and single area coordinator of USU Housing and Residence Life, confirmed the fact.
Andrew said he worried about how people were going to react when he moved into Aggie Village.
“I’m always worried how people are going to react, especially since we are the first ones,” Andrew said.
He said it can be intimidating to meet new people and move to new places.
“There’s a saying: you never stop coming out,” he said. “With every new person you meet, class that you go to to, every new place you move to, you come out again and again.”
Students who live in Aggie Village are required to have a marriage license, children or both. On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that gay couples are allowed to marry. In accordance with that national ruling, USU Housing has said all couples with marriage licenses are able to live in Aggie Village.
“I think it’s cool that [people of] USU are open and accepting — not many schools in Utah are,” said Sydney Rodee, a senior in business administration who lives in Aggie Village. “I don’t think it’s shocking or a surprise.”
Romriell said he’s enjoyed living at Aggie Village.
“People have been incredible,” he said. “We have neighbors that stop and say hi all the time. Our RA is incredible. She definitely made us feel welcome from the very first day.”
Steve Jenson, senior executive director of Housing and Residence Life, said USU strives to treat same-sex couples the same as other married couples.
“We want everyone to feel welcomed and accepted in our housing areas,” he said in an email.
Romriell said USU housing has treated them well.
“They treated us just like anybody else; it didn’t phase them at all,” he said. “It’s been a wonderful place to live and a very safe place where it could easily not be. I feel very safe here.”
Upon hearing the news of the first gay couple on campus, Daniel Sykes, a sophomore anthropology major and part of the LGBT community said, “It made me a little nervous because married housing is generally dense with an LDS population.”
Sykes was concerned about the culture because participating in a same sex relationship is frowned upon by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Romriell said other places in Utah they have lived have been welcoming as well. They lived in Murray, which Romriell called an “open-minded place.”
When the couple was looking for other places in Logan, they would tour the facility, and the management wouldn’t contact them afterward. Romriell wonders if the management wanted to rent the house out to other people or if they were discriminating.
Sykes said that Utah State housing “took a step forward.”