Thursday, December 02, 2010

GWU to Offer Gender-Neutral Housing

Starting next fall, students at the George Washington University (the school I attend) will be able to room with students of the opposite gender, so long as they request one another.  This system, known as Gender Neutral-Housing, is seen as pro-LGBT because many LGBT people feel more comfortable rooming with someone of the opposite gender (myself, frankly, included).  GWU joins approximately 50 other schools in allowing students to room with members of the opposite gender.  The new housing option will be available in all but the designated female-only dorms of Merriweather, Strong, and 2109 F St. Halls. 

From GWToday:
The university’s decision to expand housing options is a direct response to a student proposal which came through the GW Student Association in spring 2010, according to Peter Konwerski, senior associate vice president and dean of students.

A GW review committee convened earlier this year conducted extensive analysis of national best practices and solicited student, alumni and parent input on the issue. The committee, which included students, faculty, staff, alumni and parent representatives, recently recommended to senior management that GW offer a gender neutral housing option.

David Glidden, president of the student-run Residence Hall Association, says the flexibility gender neutral housing affords students is yet another example of the ways living in a residence hall constitutes “an extremely beneficial and meaningful part of student life at GW.”

“We are excited to continue to represent the interests of on-campus residents throughout the development of this program,” says Mr. Glidden.
And from the GW Hatchet:
Michael Komo, a former Student Association senator and president of Allied in Pride, led a highly publicized effort last year, urging the University to implement gender-neutral housing.

“To see my hard work and the hard work of all the students involved with this process come to fruition is very meaningful,” Komo said. “GNH is extremely important to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students, many of whom feel more comfortable living with someone of a different gender. However, this decision is a monumental victory for everyone – LGBT students and their straight counterparts.”
I applaud GWU for its decision to join a rising number of schools in allowing its students to room with whoever they feel most comfortable with.  It is important that GWU remain a school that fosters learning and growth: Gender-Neutral Housing, despite what our school's very tiny conservative population (I think at this point it's Cynthia Meyer and one or two others) would want you to believe, is a major improvement for student life.  It is commendable that our administration has so quickly embraced the year-old campaign to bring Gender-Neutral Housing to our campus.  I look forward to seeing similar progress in the future towards embracing and accomodating GWU's LGBT students.

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