University News

Gender-neutral proposal revised

Contributing Writer
Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Various organizations on campus are now working on the last details of a revised proposal that will allow gender-neutral housing for incoming freshman. The proposal was reviewed positively by the Corporation – the University’s highest governing body – last May, but ultimately was not approved due to concerns about explaining gender-neutral housing to parents of incoming first-years.

Proponents of gender-neutral housing created a website to meet this request. In order to be implemented for the class of 2017, the proposal has to be approved by the Corporation before March 1, a deadline which would require the proposal to be approved at either the October or February Corporation meeting of this year. 

Through this proposal, first-years would be given the option to receive roommates without any consideration of their legal sex. The proposal has already been approved by the Office of Campus Life. 

Those who have worked on the project said they are confident about its chances of passing. But if the proposal is not approved, they said they hope it returns with provisions rather than a total rejection.

“We are shooting for gender-neutral housing for next year’s class, and we hope that this can be done in a timely fashion,” said Travis Spangler ’13, president of Residential Council. 

Last semester, about 500 undergraduates and alums signed a petition in favor of gender-neutral housing for first-years, said Maddy Jennewein ’14, former president of GenderAction, a subgroup of the Queer Alliance that drafted the original proposal.

“This year’s incoming class also requested special accommodations, so it is definitely becoming a pressing issue,” Jennewein said. 

In a poll conducted last semester by The Herald, about 80 percent of students said gender-neutral housing should be an option for first-years. Over 30 student organizations have endorsed the proposal. 

“Students at Brown like options. There has been a lot of support for the ability to choose appropriate housing regardless of a student’s year,” said Natalie Basil, director of residential experience. 

The proposal is in line with the University’s anti-discrimination stance, Margaret Klawunn, vice president for campus life and student services told the Brown University Community Council Thursday. It is important, she added, to “make sure our students feel safe and comfortable in their new space.”

  • Anonymous

    Let exhibit A show, that The Corporation of Brown University has the power to approve, to withhold approval, and to disapprove of many things at the University.