‘Gender-neutral’ housing to be introduced next fall at Dartmouth

HANOVER, N.H.- “Gender-neutral” housing will be an option in next fall’s housing cycle, Dartmouth Student Body President Tim Andreadis announced at Tuesday night’s Student Assembly meeting. Allowing students of different sexes to share rooms, gender-neutral housing will be available on both a “programming floor” and in other scattered rooms.

The programming floor will be on the ground floor of McLane residence hall and will offer interested sophomores, juniors and seniors the opportunity to discuss and hold events about issues of gender identity and expression. Students wishing to live on this floor will be required to apply for residence.

Other available gender-neutral rooms will likely include conjoined singles with individual bathrooms, as well as suites. Locations for these rooms, which will be assigned as usual during room draw, have not yet been finalized.

In an interview with The Dartmouth, Dean of Residential Life Marty Redman described the difficulty in determining how many rooms to offer in addition to the programming floor, noting that at some other schools, interest in similar programs has not met initial expectations.

Redman also said that the Office of Residential Life is currently in the process of adding questions about gender and sex to the freshman housing application.

One problem arising in the planning stage of the new housing initiative has been how to address the needs of freshman students who are under the age of 18 and must have their housing applications signed by legal guardians. This requirement may cause complications for students who wish to participate in gender-neutral housing but are uncomfortable discussing the issue with their parents.

“We’re trying to be very cognizant of student’s privacy, and of the legal issue that their parents are still entitled to have a say in where they choose to live,” Redman said.

Redman hopes that students will call the office with questions about this housing – just as they would contact the office with any other concerns.

“Quite honestly, we would prefer to think of this as just another kind of request,” he said.

Redman said the Office of Residential Life will re-evalute the program after next year’s pilot program is completed, and he predicted that interest for gender-neutral housing would likely increase in coming years.