Rutgers announced on March 1 that they would allow students to room with people of the different genders – what is known as gender-neutral or mixed-gender housing. Rutgers is responding to the September tragedy where student Tyler Clemnti committed suicide after being secretly filmed with another man by his straight male roommate.
By allowing males and females to live together, they are allowing students to determine the living situation that suits them best. And it’s not only gay people that are participating: many straight people have opted to live with someone of the same sex in a non-romantic way.
Many schools are now offering more diverse options to students, as a way to be more welcoming to LGBT people as well as a way to reflect the growing diversity of personality that exists in today’s students.
College life has moved light years beyond many of the stereotypes, and most colleges have not changed their attitudes as society has evolved. Gender-neutral housing is a fantastic step at fostering a more caring, healthy and happy community in American colleges. The ability to choose your own roommate – regardless of gender – allows students to avoid the social vulnerability that might come from living with someone of the same sex.
Stanford was one of the pioneers of gender-neutral housing, and has been experimenting with it since 2008. It is now a permanent option for all. According to national non-profit National Student Genderblind Campaign, other schools that have recently implemented the option are Yale, Columbia University, George Washington University, Emory University, Beloit College and SUNY Stony Brook.
Stanford students, in the video below, bring up some very valid points about gender-neutral housing, namely that it allows students to gain a better understanding of the opposite sex – something that is nearly impossible to do when you are living with someone of the same sex. In addition, it allows for a more balanced housing section, with different types of people scattered throughout rather than a homogenous block of residents.
In fact, I am heading back to my 5th year reunion next week and I wonder if my university is considering such an option…
Watch Stanford undergrads talking about gender-neutral housing:
(via Peninsula Press)