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.
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Winston Crisp emphasized that the proposal is an arrangement students would opt into, and it would only affect a small number of suites and apartments on campus.
“This conversation gets difficult because people immediately think we’re talking about a free-for-all or we’re talking about having people living willy-nilly together,” Crisp said. “That’s not what we’re talking about.
“We’re talking about the safety and health and well-being of some of our students who live isolated right now.”
Terri Phoenix, director of the University’s LGBTQ center, and Kevin Claybren, student coordinator for the Gender Non-Specific Housing Coalition, presented Wednesday’s proposal.
Phoenix said students were not expecting the committee to pass a resolution so quickly.
“I was speechless and teary and so moved,” Phoenix said.
“We have spent so many hours on this proposal for the past two and a half years, and we’re honored that they were so supportive.”
If approved by Thorp, UNC would join 99 other universities nationwide — 33 public and 66 private — that offer some form of gender-neutral housing on campus, including eight of UNC’s peer institutions.
And the board’s ready support Wednesday was not limited to gender-neutral housing.
The budget, finance and audit committee approved Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Bruce Carney’s recommendation for another round of tuition increases for the 2013-14 academic year.
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Wednesday’s proposal passed the committee quickly and without contention. It will be presented to the full board today.
Carney’s recommendation would increase tuition for in-state graduate students by 6.5 percent, or $509.
It would also increase tuition for out-of-state undergraduates by 6.1 percent and out-of-state graduates by 6.8 percent. Both increases total $1,630 per student.
A $600 increase for in-state undergraduates has already been approved.
Carney emphasized that UNC’s tuition will remain below that of most of its peer institutions.
“We’ll still be in a pretty comfortable range to make us competitive,” Carney said.
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