ResLife expands gender-neutral housing program

| News Editor

Washington University’s Office of Residential Life has decided to expand gender-neutral housing to the entire North Side, including the Village, Millbrook, Village East and the off-campus apartments, following a series of deliberations. The housing will be available in the fall and can be applied for in the current round of the housing process.

Previously, gender-neutral housing was available only in the Village and Greenway.

The expansion comes in response to pressure by organizations such as Student Union and the Pride Alliance during the past few years.

“The Office of Residential Life aims to treat students as adults and encourages them to make well-thought-out decisions,” reads the application for gender-neutral housing.

The Student Union Senate passed a resolution in December 2008 urging the University to expand gender-neutral housing. The resolution includes information from a December 2006 survey, which found that 74 percent of students would consider gender-neutral housing if it were available to upperclassmen.

“This is an incredible step for the University in showing its support for students’ desires and students’ needs,” said senior Chase Sackett, the current speaker of the Senate and former Senate sponsor of the resolution. “I think it’s a testament to the role students play in these processes that make a difference in our lives on campus. I’m very excited the University has made this crucial decision, and I’m excited to see how it plays out next year.”

Students applying for gender-neutral housing must hand in their applications in person to ResLife instead of through WebSTAC. They can apply only in rounds 1 and 2.

Applicants must sign a gender-neutral housing agreement before they can apply, stating that they have considered the implications of gender-neutrality and have discussed their decision and received support from whoever is responsible for payment. The suites must also be filled for the entire academic year.

An estimated 30 colleges and universities across the country permit gender-neutral housing, according to the National Student Genderblind Campaign.

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