George Mason University Adopts Gender-Neutral Student Housing | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

George Mason University Adopts Gender-Neutral Student Housing

Play associated audio
George Mason University is the first university in Virginia to have gender-neutral housing.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/afagen/4953267030/
George Mason University is the first university in Virginia to have gender-neutral housing.

Leaders at George Mason University are about to create new gender-neutral student housing, a policy that would allow all kinds of students to live together — male, female and students who don't identify with either gender.

At Whitetop Residence Hall on the campus of George Mason University, some of the floors are assigned to male, and others to female residents — for now. But starting this fall, students will be able to apply for gender-neutral housing. If the university grants the applications, males will be able to live with females as well as people like graduate student LuLu Geza, who identifies as gender queer.

"If we're able to be as comfortable as we want to be on campus in our living spaces, we are going to do better academically," she says.

University officials say they are making the change for a number of reasons. Aside from students who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, another group who could benefit are students with disabilities. Senior Gopi Raghu says many students might have difficulty living with restrictive rules assigning which genders are acceptable for roommates and which ones aren't.

"If their assistants were opposite gender then they would be able to live with them and assist them, because everyday tasks are hard," he says.

Many colleges and universities across the country are easing restrictions on the gender identity at residence halls, although George Mason is the first university in Virginia.

"We don't recommend that anybody in our housing live together based on a romantic relationship. That can be a recipe for trouble," says Jana Hurley, George Mason's assistant vice president of university life.

But she's quick to add that university officials will not be asking about the motives of why the students want to live together when they conduct interviews.

"We're not trying to create exceptions or evaluate people's reasons, we are just simply encouraging them to make sure that their reasons are in alignment with their academic success. So we are not asking them those questions," she says.

The new policy will not apply to freshman dorms, which have communal restrooms. So far about 150 of the 4,000 upper-class students who live on campus have applied for gender-neutral housing.

NPR

As Publishing Industry Courts China, Authors Speak Out Against Censorship

Chinese writers and publishers are being celebrated this week at BookExpo America — the industry's largest trade event in North America. Free speech advocates are supporting silenced Chinese writers.
NPR

Cod Comeback: How The North Sea Fishery Bounced Back From The Brink

A decade ago, fishermen trying to catch North Sea cod were coming up empty. Now, thanks to strict fishing rules put in place to halt the decline, this fish tale looks headed for a happy ending.
WAMU 88.5

D.C. Immigrants Remain In Shadows While Reform Hits Roadblock

The administration's appeal to lift an injunction against his executive actions on immigration reform was denied. Consequently tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the metro D.C. area will continue to live in the shadows.
NPR

FCC Chairman Wants To Help Low Income Americans Afford Broadband

Tom Wheeler proposes to reboot the Lifeline phone-access program. The plan recognizes that everyone needs to study, apply for jobs and make social connections online.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.