|UNC trustees endorse gender non-specific housing option|
|Thursday, November 15, 2012|
The following news release has been revised to clarify that the gender non-specific housing option will not allow opposite sex roommates.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Board of Trustees endorsed a gender non-specific housing option for students that administrators plan to start implementing next fall.
The full board acted on a resolution that came from the board’s Student Affairs Committee on Wednesday.
“Gender-neutral housing is an important project that is vital to protecting the safety of our students,” said Chancellor Holden Thorp in his remarks to the board, urging them to support the option. “Last year, I told students I supported the idea, but wanted to make sure external stakeholders understood what it means.”
Gender non-specific housing at Carolina will mean providing an option that allows a student to live in a suite or apartment – but not the same room -- with students of any gender. Roommates will still be required to be same sex. It will be an application-based, opt-in only program and would only apply to a small number of suites and apartments in student housing on campus.
Thorp said he was proud of the students supporting the option and the presentation given to the committee by Kevin Claybren, student coordinator for the Gender Non-Specific Housing Coalition, and Terri Phoenix, director of the University’s LGBTQ Center. The presentation included personal stories of students who had experienced harassment and isolation on campus.
In a list of 15 of Carolina’s peer campuses included in the presentation, seven have a gender non-specific housing option. These institutions are both private (Duke, Johns Hopkins and Northwestern universities) and public (University of Maryland at College Park, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and University of California, Berkeley).
“This action was taken out of a desire to increase the health, safety and well-being of all students. We owe all students a safe place to study and live,” said Alston Gardner, chair of the University Affairs Committee. “We trust the administration to implement this program in a manner that respects students’ responsible choices about their living conditions.”
Thorp and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Winston Crisp will determine details of the implementation plan.