Staff ed: Gender-neutral housing

Following the footsteps of Harvard University, Grinnell has adopted a new housing option available starting in the fall of 2010. In an act that emphasizes just how few limits we really have, the housing department has taken steps to acknowledge the various preferences of students with gender-neutral housing.

Introducing gender-neutral housing as a possible living arrangement for current and future Grinnellians means that in designated dorms throughout campus students can opt out of identifying as either male or female when filling out their housing forms. The implications of this action are that any student who wishes can choose how to live without having the gender binary forced upon them.

There’s no reason the College shouldn’t meet student demand and go gender-neutral—a large amount of floors already have floor-elected gender-neutral bathrooms, and students could still have complete freedom to choose their roommates.

If the program thrives, which we hope it will, we would love to see the housing option placed in the form sent to incoming first-year students. With the formation of viable gender-neutral housing options that encourage gender neutrality, Student Affairs, SGA and the College have acknowledged that Grinnell is a safe place for gender neutrality.