UNC Gender Non-Specific Housing

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DTH: Gender-neutral housing approved by Board of Trustees

“The student coalition has done quite a bit of work outside the campus community with everybody from parents to people at other schools,” he said.

“It was a great deal of work to help people who don’t pay attention to campus every day but would hear about this and want to know what it meant.”

Students interested in the program will be able to fill out an application indicating their interest and if they would prefer a suite-style or apartment-style residence, Bradley said.

They will also have to explain why they would like to participate because there might not be room for everyone, he said.

In a campus-wide petition last year, 716 students said they would like the option of living in gender-neutral housing if it were offered, said Terri Phoenix, director of the LGBTQ center.

But Bradley said the pilot program for the fall will be conducted on a smaller scale.

“Part of the original proposal is that the first year is a pilot program, and there’s a desire to keep it at around 32 students,” he said.

“Then we will really base it on how the pilot goes and base it on the interest and demands of the students.”

Bradley said he expects the program will grow beyond 32 participants.

Crisp said all plans must be finalized by late January, when students begin to apply for on-campus housing for the fall.

“That’s what we have to work toward,” he said. “The devil is always in the details.”

Many to thank for gender-neutral option

TO THE EDITOR:

Chancellor Holden Thorp announced Thursday that UNC-Chapel Hill will begin providing gender non-specific housing in fall 2013. 
The Gender Non-Specific Housing Coalition is grateful to the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees for its unanimous support Thursday of a resolution brought forward by the University affairs committee.

We are tremendously grateful to all of the people who have worked to make gender non-specific housing a reality.

In particular, this would not have happened without the staunch support of the Department of Housing and Residential Education; the executive branch of student government (2011-12 and 2012-13); the Campus Y (committees and cabinet); Student Congress (2011-12 and 2012-13); the Residence Hall Association; all of the student organizations and departments who provided letters of support for last year’s proposal; the 2,807 students who signed the petition in support of the proposal; and all of the students who so generously volunteered their time, talents and energy throughout the course of this campaign.

We especially want to thank Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Winston Crisp and Chancellor Holden Thorp for their guidance and for their advocacy with numerous external stakeholders during the course of the past two years.

Last, but certainly not least, we thank the staff of The Daily Tar Heel for their coverage of the gender non-specific housing initiative.

This coverage allowed the campus to engage in a public conversation and allowed an opportunity for us to provide factual information about the proposal.

The Gender Non-Specific Housing Coalition spearheaded this effort, but we as a campus community accomplished this.

Kevin Claybren ’14
Women’s and Gender Studies

Terri Phoenix
Director
LGBTQ Center

Chapelboro: UNC Board Of Trustees Unanimously Approves Gender Nonspecific Housing

“(At one point in the future), I think we’re going to look back on gender-segregated housing in the same ways that we do now on gender-segregated residence halls or actual buildings, or segregation on the basis of race and ethnicity,” Phoenix says. “I think that the future generations just don’t see this as a big deal. This is seen as where we’re going as a nation.”
 
Those in opposition to the program have argued that it encourages heterosexual couples to live together. But Phoenix says statistics suggest otherwise.
 
“I conducted a lot of research in preparing the proposal last year,” Phoenix says. “Of all the peer institutions that I spoke with that have gender nonspecific housing and all of the other public institutions nationwide, the percentage of folks that are heterosexual couples that take advantage of this, that ask for the opportunity, is minute.”
 
Earlier this year, members of the Gender Nonspecific Housing Coalition led a charge to bring the program to campus for the 2012-2013 academic year. At that time, Chancellor Holden Thorp rejected the proposal, but he didn’t rule out accepting it at a later date.
 
During Thursday’s meeting, Thorp said he’s always understood the benefits of gender-nonspecific housing.
 
“Last year, the students put this proposal together and brought it to me,” he said. “I told them I supported the proposal, but I wanted to make sure our external stake holders understood what the proposal was, what it means, and what it’s for.”

And, on hindsight, Thorp says he’s still glad he waited.

"I think during the last year, there’s been a lot of talk about what we mean when we talk about gender nonspecific housing," he says. "If we’d done this abruptly last year, I think it would have created confusion. But, now, with getting the trustees on board and having a chance to talk about this, it couldn’t have gone any better."

NBC: UNC trustees approve gender-neutral housing

"No one will be forced into this option," said Terri Phoenix, director of UNC-Chapel Hill’s LGBTQ Center. "It really is an issue of safety for our students. In the end, this is about people having a safe place to live and to study."

Students will be able to apply for the option of choosing roommates of either gender in campus suites and apartments. The university already has coed dorms but students of the opposite sex do not share rooms.

Chancellor Holden Thorp said the move is vital to protecting the safety of UNC-Chapel Hill students.

"This is an important project for the university and one that I think is vital to protecting the safety of our students," Thorp said. "We all know about the tragic incident that happened at Rutgers a couple of years ago."

Thorp was referring to the 2010 suicide of Tyler Clementi, a Rutgers University student who committed suicide in a well-known case of gay bullying by his roommate.

UNC-CH trustees endorse 'gender-neutral' housing option

CHAPEL HILL — Starting next fall, students at UNC-Chapel Hill will be able to live in dorm rooms and apartments with roommates of the opposite gender.

The UNC-CH Board of Trustees unanimously endorsed “gender-neutral” housing after a yearlong push by students who said the move was necessary to give gay, lesbian and transgender students a place free of harassment.

Chancellor Holden Thorp said the housing option would be implemented next fall. Students will be able to apply for the option of choosing roommates of either gender in campus dorms and apartments. The university already has coed dorms but students of the opposite sex do not share rooms.

“This is an important project for the university and one that I think is vital to protecting the safety of our students,” Thorp said. “We all know about the tragic incident that happened at Rutgers a couple of years ago.”

Thorp was referring to the 2010 suicide of Tyler Clementi, a student at Rutgers who committed suicide in a well-known case of gay bullying by his room mrate.

At UNC-CH Thursday, a group of students gathered in the back of the meeting room, holding a large sheet painted, “EQUAL HOUSING NOW.”

They cheered at the vote by trustees.

“I’m speechless,” said Laura Carroll, a sophomore from Charlotte. “I didn’t expect things to happen so fast.”

Bryan Smith, a sophomore from Mooresville, said he was happy trustees were open to the gender neutral option.

“I think it’s a great step for ensuring the safety of a lot of students at UNC,” he said. “It will be a great benefit and it will reflect very well on UNC as a flagship school.”

The Herald-Sun: Committee approves UNC gender non-specific housing proposal

CHAPEL HILL – Students supporting gender non-specific housing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill got the answer they wanted Wednesday from the UNC Board of Trustees’ University Affairs Committee.

The committee unanimously endorsed a proposal to create a gender non-specific housing policy for the university that would allow people of any sex, gender or self-identified gender to room together.

“This committee is entirely supportive of this proposal,” said Barbara Rosser Hyde, vice chairwoman of the Board of Trustees.

More than 30 sign-toting students attending the meeting cheered loudly upon hearing Hyde’s comments.

But Winston Crisp, vice chancellor of student affairs, warned students that there was still much work to do to before the policy became official, including convincing the full trustee board to approve the proposal.

Although the board is scheduled to discuss the proposal when it meets today, it is not expected to take a vote on the measure.

Supporters of the proposed housing policy say allowing gender non-specific housing would increase the likelihood of a more welcoming and affirming environment for lesbian, gay, transgender, intersex and/or gender non-conforming individuals.

Terri Phoenix, director of UNC’s LGBTQ Center, said students are reporting harassment in gender-segregated housing and that creating gender non-specific housing would improve the health, safety and well-being for students and would also contribute to the recruitment and academic success of students.

“We know we have a lot of students who will be admitted and because they are required to live on campus their first year, they don’t feel safe and they chose to go to other institutions,” Phoenix said.

Crisp said he supports the proposed policy because it would enhance the UNC experience for LGBTQ students.

Read more: The Herald-Sun - Committee approves UNC gender non specific housing proposal 

UNC panel backs 'gender-neutral' housing idea

CHAPEL HILL — A campaign to give UNC-Chapel Hill students the option of living on campus with those of the opposite sex got a major boost Wednesday when a committee of the school’s Board of Trustees unanimously endorsed the idea.

The issue will go before the full trustees board Thursday.

The University Affairs Committee’s vote, which came after a presentation and discussion Wednesday, came as a shock to the campus Gender Non-Specific Housing Coalition.

“We were wonderfully surprised,” said Terri Phoenix, director of the campus Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Center and a leader of the Gender Non-Specific Housing Coalition. “We did not expect that today. I think we made a clear and convincing case that it’s about safety and academic success for the students.”
 

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/11/14/2484192/unc-panel-backs-gender-neutral.html#storylink=cpy#storylink=cpy

The Herald-Sun: Committee approves UNC gender non-specific housing proposal

CHAPEL HILL – Students supporting gender non-specific housing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill got the answer they wanted Wednesday from the UNC Board of Trustees’ University Affairs Committee.

The committee unanimously endorsed a proposal to create a gender non-specific housing policy for the university that would allow people of any sex, gender or self-identified gender to room together.

“This committee is entirely supportive of this proposal,” said Barbara Rosser Hyde, vice chairwoman of the Board of Trustees.

More than 30 sign-toting students attending the meeting cheered loudly upon hearing Hyde’s comments.

But Winston Crisp, vice chancellor of student affairs, warned students that there was still much work to do to before the policy became official, including convincing the full trustee board to approve the proposal.

Although the board is scheduled to discuss the proposal when it meets today, it is not expected to take a vote on the measure.

Supporters of the proposed housing policy say allowing gender non-specific housing would increase the likelihood of a more welcoming and affirming environment for lesbian, gay, transgender, intersex and/or gender non-conforming individuals.

Terri Phoenix, director of UNC’s LGBTQ Center, said students are reporting harassment in gender-segregated housing and that creating gender non-specific housing would improve the health, safety and well-being for students and would also contribute to the recruitment and academic success of students.

“We know we have a lot of students who will be admitted and because they are required to live on campus their first year, they don’t feel safe and they chose to go to other institutions,” Phoenix said.


Read more: The Herald-Sun - Committee approves UNC gender non specific housing proposal 

UNC panel backs 'gender-neutral' housing idea

CHAPEL HILL A campaign to give UNC-Chapel Hill students the option of living on campus with those of the opposite sex got a major boost Wednesday when a committee of the school’s Board of Trustees unanimously endorsed the idea.

The issue will go before the full trustees board Thursday.

The University Affairs Committee’s vote, which came after a presentation and discussion Wednesday, came as a shock to the campus Gender Non-Specific Housing Coalition.

“We were wonderfully surprised,” said Terri Phoenix, director of the campus Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Center and a leader of the Gender Non-Specific Housing Coalition. “We did not expect that today. I think we made a clear and convincing case that it’s about safety and academic success for the students.”

The proposal would allow students who apply for the optional housing to choose roommates of either gender. Although UNC-CH has co-ed dorms now, students of different genders don’t share rooms.

The coalition thinks “gender-neutral” housing would help alleviate bullying and other forms of abuse that some gay and transgender students say they have faced in dorm rooms.

The coalition says gay, lesbian and transgender students sometimes end up with hostile roommates. Those students would like to be able to choose a friendly roommate, regardless of gender.

If the full trustees board backs the proposal, it would have to be approved by Chancellor Holden Thorp in January for it to be implemented by the start of the 2013-14 academic year.

Thorp rejected the proposal last year on the grounds that trustees, alumni, parents and others outside the university might need to be further educated on the issue.



We’re at the Board of Trustees meeting to support the resolution by the University Affairs committee. We are at the Carolina Inn, John Sprunt Hill Grand Ballroom Central. Stop by if you can.
We’re at the Board of Trustees meeting to support the resolution by the University Affairs committee. We are at the Carolina Inn, John Sprunt Hill Grand Ballroom Central. Stop by if you can.

The UNC Board of Trustee’s University Affairs Committee passed a unanimous resolution in favor of Gender Non-Specific Housing.

Today from 9am-11am the Board of Trustees will be meeting at the Carolina Inn. We need as many people to be there in support of the resolution.

Students are meeting at the Campus Y tjos morning at 8:45am to walk over to the Carolina Inn (Columbia Street and Cameron). If you cannot make it at 8:45am we strongly encourage you to attend any time between 9am-11am.

Regular updates will be posted thru the GNH FB

DTH Editorial: Create safer campus

Advocates for gender-neutral housing called on the Board of Trustees to support implementing the policy on Wednesday. The University community owes students a safe campus, and the push for the additional housing option deserves its full support.

Every student has a right to safety on campus, but students who identify outside of traditional gender norms are much more likely to experience verbal harassment and fear for physical safety because of how they identify.

Almost 12 percent of reports of verbal harassment in 2009 occurred in residence halls, according to the campus climate report. This rate could be reduced if students of different gender identities, gender expressions and sexual orientations had an alternative option to living on a same-sex hall.

A gender-neutral housing option would give students the opportunity to room together on campus regardless of gender. This policy, which could reduce incidents of harassment and increase safety for those it serves and is sensible, free and just.

The campaign for gender-neutral housing has received widespread support. About 3,000 students have signed the petition and the UNC-system Association of Student Governments passed a resolution supporting it.

This is not just an issue for those who identify outside of traditional gender norms. It matters for everyone who wants a safe, accepting campus.

Gender-neutral housing should be passed at UNC. Every student, member of the faculty or staff and administrator has a part in creating an affirming, safe environment. We owe this to the UNCcommunity. All of it.

Board of Trustees approves a resolution for gender-neutral housing

Ping Nguyen said he’ll never forget the day he came home to a sign on his door that read, “No homos allowed in this suite.”

“My suitemates had locked me out because of it,” he said.

Nguyen’s story reflects a broader problem of harassment in on-campus housing — a problem that some students said has plagued their academic career for far too long.

But students’ feelings of isolation and discomfort are closer to being over.

The Board of Trustees’ University affairs committee unanimously passed a resolution Wednesday supporting a gender-neutral housing proposal — a small victory on the long road to implementing it.

Gender-neutral housing allows students to live in on-campus housing with students of any gender.

“I’m really proud of Will (Leimenstoll) and the students who made the proposal,” Chancellor Holden Thorp said. “This is an important, positive step that I welcome.”

The committee’s resolution will be presented to all Board of Trustees members today.

If the full board expresses approval, the resolution will be passed to Thorp.

Thorp rejected a proposal gender-neutral housing in February, citing University stakeholders’ lack of education on the issue.

He said Wednesday’s meeting educated a lot of the public, but he said the University still has a long way to go.

The Herald-Sun: Student groups to lobby for Gender Non-Specific Housing

CHAPEL HILL – A group of students who support gender non-specific housing at UNC plan to make a case for change today before the UNC Board of Trustees.

The Gender Non-Specific Housing Coalition at UNC-CH, UNC-CH Student Power, and the Campus Y also organized a sleep-in Tuesday in preparation for today’s presentation, which is set for 2:45 p.m. at the Carolina Inn.

If trustees decide to adopt a gender non-specific housing policy for the university, it would allow people of any sex, gender or self-identified gender to room together.

Supporters say such a policy would increase the “likelihood” of a more “welcoming and affirming environment” for lesbian, gay, transgender, intersex and/or gender non-conforming individuals. 

Terri Phoenix, director of UNC’s LGBTQ Center, said a 2011 report examining campus climate and prevalence of harassment due to sexual orientation, gender identify and gender expression found that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students were 19 times more likely to report having experienced verbal harassment or fear for their physical safety than heterosexual respondents.

Phoenix, who will speak to trustees today along with Kevin Claybren, a UNC junior from Alamance County, said residence halls was the fourth highest location on campus where LGBTQ students said they experienced harassment. 

“It became very clear to me the extent people were experiencing harassment,” Phoenix said.

Allowing gender non-specific housing would also help improve academic success rates for LGBTQ students, Phoenix said, noting that students who feel harassed in residence halls often find other places to sleep.

“That’s going to impact their ability to be successful,” Phoenix said.

Also, Phoenix said recruiting and retention are also hurt by not having gender non-specific housing because LGBTQ students have the option to attend schools that do have such housing.

Currently, there are 66 private universities and 32 public schools, including eight of UNC’s peers, who allow some form of gender non-specific housing.

“UNC is not as competitive [for top students] without having this,” Claybren said.

In North Carolina, Duke University and Guilford and Warren Wilson colleges offer gender non-specific housing.

Phoenix said students at UNC Asheville and Appalachian State University have expressed interest in having a gender non-specific housing policy on their campuses.

“I think it’s one of those things where people will see UNC doing this and we’ll see other institutions following suit,” Phoenix said. 

In addition to allowing friends of different genders room together, Phoenix said a change in the university’s housing policy would also allow siblings of different genders to live together.

UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp put a pin in the proposal in February, contending that the university’s “many stakeholders off campus” hadn’t been adequately educated about mixed-gender housing.

“We owe it to this issue to ensure that people understand what we are proposing,” Thorp said in a memo to Winston Crisp, the university’s vice chancellor of student affairs.

Since Thorp’s memo, Phoenix said he and other supporters of the policy have been working hard to educate students, faculty, alums and other campuses about gender non-specific housing.

“We’ve certainly been doing as much as we can to educate,” Phoenix said. “I trust that the chancellor has also been doing that.”

The Gender Non-Specific Housing Coalition has received almost 3,000 signatures on a petition calling for UNC to implement the policy, and letters of support from 53 campus organizations. 

The UNC CH Student Congress has also given its support to the policy, and the statewide Association of Student Governments passed a resolution of support at its meeting last weekend.


Read more: The Herald-Sun - Student groups to lobby for gender non specific housing