Open Housing, also sometimes called gender-neutral housing, is a practice that allows second-, third- and fourth-year College students the choice of living with other second-, third- and fourth-year College students, regardless of gender. The Office of Housing and Residential Life will not assign anyone to an opposite-sex roommate unless requested. The practice went into effect as a pilot program in August 2011, with full-implementation in the fall of 2012.
There are some students for whom traditional, same-sex room assignments are not ideal or appropriate, and we believe it is important that housing practices evolve to meet the needs of students to create an inclusive, welcoming environment. In April 2011, students approached the Office of Housing and Residential Life, with a request for gender neutral housing. The Housing and Dining Committee of Student Council - the student governing body and advisory council for housing discussed the matter thoroughly - as did Student Affairs staff who investigated peer institution policies as well as best practices within Student Affairs. A pilot program was developed for students in 2011-2012, and full implementation was effected for the 2012-2013 academic year.
Dozens of institutions have implemented gender-neutral housing policies, including:
Bryn Mawr College
Carnegie- Mellon University
College of Wooster
Lewis and Clark College
New York University
Sarah Lawrence College
University of Pennsylvania
Washington University in St. Louis
The policies and experiences of these and other institutions were helpful in guiding our decision-making.
After reviewing a recommendation resolution by the Housing and Dining Committee, the Director for Housing and Residential Life convened a group of students and staff to study the implementation of a gender-neutral option at the College. The group consulted with multiple constituencies, most importantly with students and staff living in campus housing including surveying 72% of the student body through the Quality of Life Survey. During the Fall 2011-2012 semester this practice was approved and locations for Open Housing were discussed.
This option will be available only to second-, third- and fourth-year College students. Open Housing will not be an option for first-year students.
If incoming students indicate on their housing applications that their needs cannot be met within the parameters of the College's room-assignment policies, the Office of Housing and Residential Life will work with that student to address the issue(s).
The Open Housing option is not intended for romantic couples. However, because we respect and honor student privacy we do not require students to disclose the reason(s) for their roommate requests. Because we believe that students should be helped in making thoughtful, well-informed decisions, we will provide students with information about the potential advantages and disadvantages of open housing.
The College also offers single-sex housing, and that option will remain available. There are multiple residence halls where single-sex housing will be available for students who prefer that option. Open Housing will not be implemented in those locations.
We encourage students to maintain an open dialogue with their families. Students over the age of 18 are legally able to make decisions about their housing contracts. Students under the age of 18 should discuss housing plans with their families, as they must provide parental consent.
Students may request room changes by visiting the Office of Housing and Residential Life. The student will not be required to move into another Open Housing room unless they wish.
There is no specific number, or limit, of Open Housing rooms on campus. Open Housing will exist across the housing system except in those areas that are designated as single-sex. Our priority is to meet the needs of our diverse student community.
Because we do not have much experience with this practice it is hard to estimate precisely how many students will choose the Open Housing option. A number of other institutions that have implemented a gender-neutral housing policy report that around 2-4% of their student rooms are selected as gender-neutral rooms.
Gender Neutral Bathroom: at the north stairs between rooms 209 and 211
Female Bathroom: at the south stairs near 201, 204, 223, 224
Male Bathroom: at the middle stairs between 206 and 208
All rooms on the 2nd floor are gender neutral
Gender Neutral Bathroom: at the middle stairs across from 221
Female Bathroom: at the north stairs by Theta division across from 207
Male Bathroom: at the north stairs by Beta division across from 223 and 227
All rooms on top floor are not gender coded - except the EDM and Zeta divisions
All rooms (207-227) are gender neutral; Theta and Beta divisions are gender coded.
Mather - 3rd floor:
Gender Neutral Bathroom: One will be in the area of rooms 301,302,303, 304;
Another will be in the area of rooms 320,321,322
Female Bathroom: in the area of rooms 308,309,310,311
Male Bathroom: in the area of rooms 314, 313, 315
All rooms on the 3rd floor Middle and Long wings (301-322) are gender neutral
Old Kenyon - 1st floor:
Gender Neutral Bathroom: In the area of rooms 103, 104, 120, 121
Floors 1,2,3 are not gender coded; 4th floor is all male
Caples Residence Hall:
Gender Neutral Bathroom: 4th floor in the area of Suite C (rooms 407,408,409,410)
Gender Neutral Bathroom: 5th floor in the area of rooms 503,504
All apartments and suites will be considered open rooms (Farr, Caples, New Apartments, North Campus Apartments, Tafts, Aclands)