The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Sunday June 4th

Students search for gender-neutral options

In the aftermath of the UNC-system Board of Governors’ August ban on gender-neutral housing, student leaders are continuing to look for housing alternatives to keep students safe.

Housing alternatives for LGBT students are already in the early planning stages, said Andrew Wood , a UNC-CH student who was involved with the gender-neutral housing campaign.

Wood met with the chief of staff to system President Tom Ross, Kevin FitzGerald, and several other students after the board’s meeting this month to explore potential housing alternatives. He said he has been in communication with Ross’ intern since then.

The main alternative being considered is a housing application option where students indicate if they would like to participate in a diverse living situation, he said.

“That way we won’t have individuals paired up with more discriminatory roommates who will harass or bully them on the basis of their sexuality or gender identification,” Wood said.

This option seems promising, but will likely need to be a more involved process, Wood said.

Another proposal is to create a diverse living-learning community for LGBT students. But this group will probably be a supplement to the housing application option because participants would be required to participate in activities such as meetings and possibly community-specific coursework, Wood said.

ASUnity, a residential learning community at Appalachian State University, is set to begin next academic year for students of any sexual orientation or gender identity and allies who are interested in social justice.

Amy Dellinger Page, an ASU sociology professor and one of the group’s faculty leaders, said students will have to take an approved class to participate.

“We want a supportive community, but it’s not a social group,” Page said. “It’s an academic community.”

In addition to formulating housing alternatives, Wood said he wants to help gather statewide data about how many students are affected by the lack of gender-neutral housing.

Robert Nunnery, president of the Association of Student Governments, said he is also working to foster systemwide communication about potential proposals.

“I’m definitely receptive to any ideas,” Nunnery said. “Right now, I just want to make sure we have ideas that genuinely reflect the will of the students.”

Nunnery said he would like to see a list of proposals go public before his term ends in May.

But Wood said when students are in potentially dangerous situations with roommates, it is important to act quickly.

“My goal is to help in whatever way I can as a student in the formation of this policy to try and get it done efficiently in a smart way, but also quickly because lives are really on the line.”

To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.


The Daily Tar Heel Women's Tennis Victory Paper

Special Print Edition

Games & Horoscopes

Print Edition Games Archive