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UNC Student Congress to vote on gender-neutral housing option

Tonight Student Congress will vote on whether it will show support for an effort to institute a gender-neutral housing option— an issue that will ultimately be decided by administrators.

The gender-neutral housing option is a proposal that would allow students live with a roommate of the opposite sex.

While UNC’s administration will have the final say, Speaker of Student Congress Zach De La Rosa said the body’s vote is a meaningful measure.

De La Rosa said congressional votes of approval on campus topics have declined in the past four or five years, but they are still relevant.

“We are still allowed to endorse things on campus,” De La Rosa said.

He said if students can show that an overwhelming majority of students can agree on something, it will send a sign to administrators that this is an issue students care about.

Evan Ross, one of the co-sponsors of the gender neutral resolution and chairman of the rules and judiciary committee, said the body’s support would be invaluable.

Approving the bill will require the support of 20 out of 29 members of congress, De La Rosa said.

The resolution is sponsored by Nathan Westmoreland, president of UNC Young Democrats.

“It is a policy that would directly affect students here on campus that would live with this,” Ross said.

“It is not the administration or Board of Trustees who would witness and experience this firsthand.”

Ross said the idea that the proposal presents an option, not a requirement, is important, and added that there are potential benefits for the LGBTQ community.

“I think if people of the same gender would want to room together, that’s perfectly fine,” he said. “I don’t see the negative effects on people who plan not to opt into it.”

De La Rosa said he’s not sure what the outcome of the vote will be.

Student Congress members will also be voting on a new speaker pro tempore, alterations of Title I and Title IV of the Student Code and the College Republicans’ funding request for Republican pundit Ann Coulter to visit campus, De La Rosa said.

The College Republicans are requesting about $15,000 coupled with a $5,000 loan, a little less than the group requested weeks ago, when it was granted only about $15,000 in funding and a $5,000 loan.
Greg Steele, chairman of the College Republicans, said he thinks Student Congress will approve the funding request.

“I feel confident that we will receive the funding,” Steele said.
“We’ve also made the case that this is our only request for the year.”

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