Presidential Perspectives

Editorials featured in the Forum section are solely the opinions of their individual authors.

Feedback on mixed-gender housing needed

In college, we meet a lot of cool new people: friends from floors, classes, clubs, and social gatherings. These people end up being the cornerstone of our college experience — the people we want to spend time with, share experiences with, and, more often than not, live with. So why shouldn’t we be able to live with our friends even if we aren’t the same gender?

Currently, Housing’s room assignment process requires that pairing be made by gender. It doesn’t matter how well you get along with a friend, you can’t share a space with someone of the opposite gender. We think it’s time to change this.

Last semester we crafted a proposal to implement a pilot study to test whether or not students would be interested in mixed-gender apartment living. The pilot study calls for a one- to two-year period to study market demand, administrative needs, and residents’ concerns. The pilot study was designed to focus on the Small Oakland Houses (SOH) and would allow mixed-gender cohabitation.

So how would this work? While it’s certainly not a simple change, it would still closely resemble the current room draw process. During room draw you would indicate a roommate assignment preference: male, female, or no preference. Your room would be filled accordingly. If Housing is unable to place someone according to your preferences, the room would default to Housing’s current same-gender standard. In other words, if our student community does not want to take advantage of the new housing option, then housing options revert back to the status quo.

Because the pilot study would focus on self-contained, apartment-style living, Housing would be able to test the viability of mixed-gender housing without impacting students who aren’t interested in a mixed-gender environment. All students would be able to try mixed-gender living except incoming first-years.

We’ve observed that our peer institutions (like NYU, for example) have mixed-gender apartments, and we’ve introduced the idea to Student Senate, Student Dormitory Council, and relevant staff members. But we need student input! Is this something you want? The only way to get Housing to move
forward is to give them a better sense of students’ demands.

If you have any comments, positive or negative, please e-mail ASAP. All student comments will be collected and referred to Housing. We can do this, but we need your support.