The University supposedly prides itself on encouraging campus diversity, but its policy on housing doesn’t seem to support this claim. But that soon could change. A recent survey of campus community members showed support for the creation of a gender-neutral housing option. If implemented by University Housing, students living in residence halls will have the option to choose the gender of their roommate, a long-awaited opportunity for many students, particularly those who identify as transgendered. And students have shown that they favor the option. To acknowledge the needs — and wants — of students, the University should offer gender-neutral housing.

The proposal for gender-neutral housing, introduced to the University in April 2009, was designed to create a housing option targeted at transgender students. Currently, the option is only offered on an individual need basis. After much debate, the University gave students an opportunity to voice their opinions through a survey conducted by the Gender Neutral Housing Coalition. According to an Apr. 2 Daily report, 19 percent of the 9,545 students surveyed responded. 19 percent of respondents did not support the option. But 67 percent of those who responded said that gender-neutral housing “would be a welcome option for the University Housing community.” And 38 percent of those responses claimed that they would choose gender-neutral housing if given the option.

Students should be given more housing choices. As the policy stands now, housing doesn’t provide an appealing option for transgender students. And many students who feel that living with a member of the opposite sex may be a better situation for them don’t have that option. By not having the opportunity to select a gender-neutral rooming assignment, the University is indirectly discriminating against these students. If approved, this change would create a greater sense of acceptance and ensure that all students were comfortable with their living situation.

Gender-neutral housing has already been implemented and shown to work well at several institutions of higher learning across the country. According to a Sept. 30 Daily article about the proposal, 36 colleges, including Harvard University and Stanford University, have provided students with a gender-neutral housing option. University Housing Spokesman Peter Logan told the Daily in September that he has been in contact with many of these schools in exploration of the option, but campus hasn’t seen the results of these talks yet. Since many other universities have seen success, there’s no reason the University should be lagging behind.

The results of the recent survey show that the majority of respondents support the enactment of a gender-neutral option in student residential housing. The positive response reveals that the desire for its creation spans further than just those students who would chose the option. Students on campus have demonstrated that they support a more inclusive housing option. The University should realize the significance of this response and make gender-neutral housing available.

The limits of current roommate gender choice are unsatisfactory for students, and the survey has proven that the campus community supports a change. The University should respond appropriately and in a timely manner to provide students with the option of gender-neutral housing.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.