By Andrea Waitrovich
While some colleges have been offering coed dormitory living to
students for years, Cal Poly has not considered offering
gender-neutral housing to residential students.
Gender-neutral housing allows a male and female student to
voluntarily pick each other to live in the same dorm room.
There has been pressure from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgender community to change the housing system at universities
for students who do not consider themselves entirely male or
Some students might feel uncomfortable living with someone of
the same sex and prefer living with someone of the opposite sex. An
MSNBC article about coed campus housing stated gay males would
rather live with females because of comfort issues.
“I am very surprised colleges are actually allowing it. It would
seem very controversial for parents [with the idea about] how males
and females should be separate,” said Jason Ahn, a fifth-year
Michael Gibson, a second-year computer engineering student, said
it is good to have the new policy because it allows more options
“I think it won’t last because of how controversial it is. For
example, if a boy lives with girls, there isn’t really an issue
behind it,” said Gibson. “But if a girl is living with boys, there
is a concern of ‘safety’ for her.”
The Gender Public Advocacy Commission lists 30 college campuses
that provide gender-neutral housing. University of California
Riverside is the closest campus to Cal Poly that provides this
“I don’t know the answer if Cal Poly will do it. [But]
gender-neutral housing has been around for about three years. It
has not picked up any momentum,” said Stephen Fleischer, associate
director of residence life at University Housing Services.
Fleischer said universities are testing it out to have a better
understanding of the issues that come with it. Currently, all UCR’s
gender-neutral accommodations are filled.
“It has been very successful. Numerous students have picked our
campus over UCLA and UC Berkeley because we had gender-neutral
housing,” said Jeanette Bradeen, director of resident life of
Bradeen said UCR changed its policy a few years ago upon a
request from a transgender student.
“If the student starts as a female at the beginning of the year
and then ends the year as a male student, he would be still living
with a female student,” said Bradeen. “We had nothing to offer the
student, so we decided to change it.”
Some think gender-neutral housing is not promoting romance or
intimacy but reflecting how friendships are or are not segregated
“Our culture has really dulled down the men versus women
stereotype,” said Tony Phan, a third-year hotel and restaurant
Phan said there was no difference with living with someone of
the opposite sex because either way people would have to adapt to
each other’s habits.
Other students believe it causes uncomfortable situations by not
being able to have the privacy to change clothes.
“I would leave the room and go change in the bathroom,” said
Melinda Hernandez, a second-year undeclared student.
Lameel Miner, a third-year public relations student, said she
does not agree with living with a male student because she feels
eventually romance will occur in the friendship.
“I think there wouldn’t be an issue of attraction because the
two people made a choice to live with each other, and they know
what environment they are getting themselves into,” said Barnaby
Hernandez, a first-year mechanical engineering student.
Coed rooms not being considered
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