GWU Allows for Gender-Neutral Dorm Rooms

George Washington University will join the ranks of 54 other colleges and universities to allow gender-neutral dorm rooms. The push was started by numerous student groups, including Allied for Pride, who advocated on behalf of LGBT students who felt these gender-specific housing rules were unfair and discriminatory. What’s cool is that the university took the students’ proposal seriously and created committees working with administration and students to make it happen.

While most students think the change in regulations is a step in the right direction, there has been pushback by conservative students concerned that this infringes on their rights. I’m not too sure of the reasoning but this male student is quoted in the Washington Post:

“This is the liberal administration at the university imposing something on students,” said Travis Korson, a senior international affairs major and president of the campus chapter of Young America’s Foundation. “None of these systems have been around for more than five years. There’s no way to prove they will be successful.”

What is supposed to be “successful” about these new rules? I’d say it’s successful if young people have the right to make decisions about their living space and not having to adhere to rules made around fears of young people’s sexuality and identity. There seem to be concerns that these new regulations could create problems with heterosexual male and women friends living together and then getting involved romantically…because we all know that men and women can’t be friends. Just ask Steve Harvey. The sense is that it works better only for gay and lesbian students because they won’t be attracted (and distracted) by their opposite-sex roommate. What about bisexual students? Are they just gonna be whoring no matter who they live with? Sigh. What about transgender students? But at the end of the day if folks are so worried about sexual activity, then shouldn’t there be continued efforts to ensure contraceptive and condom access AND education?

I think it’s really a sign of the times. A couple of students are quoted essentially saying “So what?” when asked about the changes. Any resistance seems to be playing on old school fears that the dorms are now going to turn into 24-hour live-in orgies. They should be so lucky. (I kid) I’m inspired by the collective power of the students to question and actually change outdated and unfair policies to ensure a better quality of life for the entire community.

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  • Sam Lindsay-Levine

    It’s pretty hard to come with a logically consistent way in which the school allowing two other consenting students to room together is an imposition on Travis Korson.

    My college had gender-neutral rooms for as long as anyone could remember – so at the very least from 1997 or earlier – so that’s the other half of his statement shot down, too. Honestly I was startled when I heard there were actually mainstream schools that would forbid it!

  • Isabel

    I wasn’t around when my college implemented a gender-neutral dorm room policy, but a few years out I have never heard anyone complain about the policy. The student population does lean heavily left, so that may have something to do with it. People know the option is there and if they want to take it, fine. If they don’t, that’s okay too, it’s their business. I have friends at other universities who live off-campus and share rooms with someone of the opposite sex. It will happen anyway, so why have a prohibitive policy that forces students who want gender-neutral rooms off-campus?