Colleges move towards creating co-ed living options.

By Dan Howell

Many colleges and universities on the east and west coasts provide gender-neutral housing, where a man and a woman share a dorm room. This fixture may be heading towards the Midwest. The University of California-Riverside offers a gender neutral option. The resident director of their gender-neutral hall, Emily Sandoval understands there are some criticisms, but sees the hall as a benefit for students.

“I know a lot of people jump to the conclusion that o, it’s boyfriends and girlfriends living together, but that’s not necessarily the case. There could be childhood friends that go to college together that just want their friend there.”

Some schools say creating gender-neutral housing comes from a rising support for transgender students. Currently, the University of Illinois does not have full gender-neutral residence halls…but has made accomodations on a case by case basis. Assistant Director of Housing for Marketing Kristin Ruby says transgendered students have a safe community in the dorms.

“Since the University considers students who are transgendered to be one of the groups of students that we don’t discriminate against, of course in housing we don’t want to discriminate against them either.”

These students have the option of picking a single room with two different accessible bathrooms or simply finding someone who they are comfortable rooming with. The University of Chicago, University of Michigan, and the University of Pennsylvania all have or are exploring options for gender neutral housing.