The N.C. Senate shouldn’t kill gender-neutral housing

Even though the UNC Board of Trustees unanimously approved a gender-neutral housing pilot program last fall, members of the N.C. Senate are a“ttempting to block it”:http://www.dailytarheel.com/article/2013/04/senate-bill-threatens-uncs-gender-neutral-housing.

Sponsors of N.C. Senate Bill 658 say the focus on gender-neutral housing will take money and time away from educational issues. But some students face challenges from their living arrangements that can hinder their academic progress.

Prior to the pilot program, only individuals of the same sex at birth could live together in University-provided housing. This is problematic in that some students may identify as a gender different from their sex.

These situations can lead to harassment. But gender-neutral housing solves this by offering an alternative housing option.

If someone is uncomfortable or unsafe with his or her current living situation, that experience will definitely affect not only his or her social life, but also every facet of the college experience, including academic standing.

However, this bill would prohibit students of different sexes from living together in on-campus suites and apartments, unless they are married or siblings.

The bill’s co-sponsor, Sen. David Curtis, R-Gaston, called gender-neutral housing a “frivolous social experiment” and said that this is not how UNC became a national leader in academics. This is an insult to deserving students who struggle to succeed because of their housing situation.

The N.C. General Assembly should not pass this harmful bill.

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