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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Letter to the editor: On room draw and gender neutral housing

After years of student activism and administrative engagement, gender neutral housing at Grinnell has grown from a handful of singles on Loose 2nd South to encompass nearly 18% of all college-owned residences (Loose 2nd and 3rd, Rawson, Cowles Apartments, Cowles 1st, Lazier 1st, James 3rd, project houses, language houses, and mini co-ops). To better serve trans*, gender non-conforming, genderqueer, and allied students, Residence Life has expanded available options in Room Draw alongside the growing needs of our community.

Students have the opportunity to live on a gender neutral floor if they have an interest in supporting and sustaining a community that is safe and affirming of all gender identities and expressions. Choosing to live in a gender neutral area makes a statement about the type of community you want to live in. The College can only assign physical spaces with a gender neutral label. From there, students must work to create the ethos that drives this safe space.

Since this program is an important part of the Grinnell community, we are interested in ensuring that students who choose these environments will do so deliberately, with an intent to uphold a gender inclusive space. Everyone who is passionate about this ideal is welcomed and encouraged to live in these areas, and we stress that these gender neutral floors are intended to create a safe space for trans* and gender-nonconforming individuals, and not necessarily to enable cisgender heterosexual couples to live together. Please keep this in mind as you select a room on Sunday at Room Draw. We remind you to be aware of the community you choose to live in, as you will be asked to uphold the standards of that community.

We’re excited that gender neutral environments have risen in popularity, and Grinnell is a leader in this regard. For this reason, we hope that residents in gender neutral communities continue to show their commitment to gender inclusive language, attitudes, and other aspects of residence life.

If you’re interested in additional information, or have questions about gender neutral communities on campus, contact [srcenter], [tag], [open], or us at [conneran] and [olsonsco].


— Scott Olson ’15 and Andrea Conner, Assistant Dean of Students

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