Gender-neutral housing option not fully accepting
New policy is step in right direction, fails to recognize financial restraints
Published: Monday, March 11, 2013
Updated: Monday, March 11, 2013 18:03
In 2012, the university implemented a new gender-neutral housing option geared toward fostering students who prefer non-gender specific rooms to share with other students. The rooms allow for students of the same gender to live together in a single-style suite dormitory connected by a single bathroom in the Independence Complex of Laird Campus. On the surface, catering to the needs of a very specific “LGBT” community seems like a very progressive policy. It outlines an alternative option for students looking to avoid a potentially awkward living situation and who may not feel comfortable living with other students of a particular gender or orientation—however, the policy contains some major flaws.
The gender-neutral living option is only offered to upperclassmen and returning students. Why the policy excludes incoming freshman from the application process remains unclear, but the difficulty in attaining a gender-neutral room does not stop there. The gender-neutral housing option is omitted from the online housing application and students are forced to email the housing department, explaining their need for the specific rooms. Not to mention, the single-suite-style rooms are only offered at the price of $8,788, the most expensive on-campus housing option.
Given the living option’s high price and how few rooms are available, many students looking to utilize gender-neutral housing are excluded from doing so due to financial reasons. No student should be forced to live in a situation they find uncomfortable just because there cannot afford it. It is the university’s responsibility to make sure all of their student’s basic living standards are met if they live on campus, and if that means living with someone of a specific gender, it needs to be provided. Not to mention, the policy seems to be further alienating the LGBT population by forcing them to live in specific rooms in a defined building on campus. The policy should be in place in order to foster the growth of the LGBT community, not to make them feel segregated due to their living needs.