The UNC Board of Governors is considering prohibiting UNC campuses from offering gender-inclusive housing. The proposed policy change reads:
The constituent institutions shall not assign members of the opposite sex to any institutionally owned and operated dormitory room, dormitory suite, or campus apartment unless the students are siblings, parent and child, or they are legally married. This policy applies to housing assignments beginning with the fall 2013 semester.
The proposal mirrors a bill introduced (and ultimately killed by the crossover deadline) in the NC Senate earlier this year. For comparison, SB 658 reads as follows:
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, The University of North Carolina shall prohibit the assignment of members of the opposite sex to the same dormitory room, dormitory suite, or campus apartment unless the students are siblings or they are legally married and there is a valid marriage license on file at the campus housing office that documents the marriage.”
The policy change will be discussed at a Board of Governors meeting Aug 8-9 in Chapel Hill. No students or UNC system leaders will be allowed to speak.
Proponents of the gender-inclusive housing proposals say allowing students to choose their roommates regardless of their gender will increase safety for all students, particularly those who identify as gay or transgender.
Campus Pride, aCharlotte-based national non-profit that works with LGBT students, has issued an action alert, encouraging students to speak out against the proposal.
“Banning gender-inclusive housing on the seventeen UNC system campuses does not serve the safety of any student. It is dangerous and reckless to take such a broad sweeping action,” Shane Windmeyer, Campus Pride executive director, said in a statement. “Research shows that LGBT students experience heightened rates of harassment and discrimination at our colleges and universities, including in campus housing. Students should not have to feel unsafe or be fearful where they eat, sleep, and live on campus.”