UCCS to add gender inclusive housing for fall 2016

Mar. 14, 2016

Audrey Jensen
ajensen4@uccs.edu

Students with 30 or more credit hours at the end of this semester can opt to live with a student of any gender identity starting in fall 2016.

Last semester, Resident Hall Association president Robbie Armstrong authored a student proposal to request that Residence Life and Housing offer gender inclusive housing to all students. Housing approved the resolution in February.

According to director of Residence Life and Housing Ralph Giese, UCCS is one of two schools in Colorado that was not offering gender inclusive housing as an option for students.

There are 301 beds that will be available for the students who opt for gender inclusive housing.

Students sign up for fall 2016 housing opportunities at The Lodge on March 9. Audrey Jensen | The Scribe
Students sign up for fall 2016 housing opportunities at The Lodge on March 9.
Audrey Jensen | The Scribe

Megan Bell, executive director of Auxiliary Community and Learning Initiatives said that in research at other schools, only one to four percent of students opted for gender inclusive dorms.

“If only 12 people want this gender inclusive option, then that’s the only gender inclusive option we’ll have,” Bell said.

She added that next semester is going to be a pilot group so they can see how this will work with upper class students first. Inclusive housing for incoming freshmen may not happen in fall 2017, but Bell said they are working on it.

“We have folks that are transitioning or have transitioned and their biological gender that’s in our system doesn’t match how they’re presenting and they ask if they identify as a woman if they can be placed with women.”

“We’ve had students who were happy and successful and their roommates didn’t know.”

An option that students can check on the housing renewal form for the 2016-17 school year states that by selecting the “Gender Inclusive” box, students agree to live in a gender inclusive housing suite in the Alpine apartments.

The agreement also states that by selecting this option, the student understands they could be placed with a roommate of any gender.

Two students who did opt for the gender-inclusive housing are freshman Jazzmyn Boykins, engineering major, and Triston Gladhill, an English literature major.

Boykins, a village representative for RHA, said her and Gladhill requested to be roommates because she has more friends who are guys.

“I don’t get along too well with my own gender so much. So I was kind of disappointed that I couldn’t live with someone else (this year),” said Boykins.

Gladhill, another member of RHA, said he thinks that housing is allowing students with different viewpoints more freedom.

“I’m glad they opened up the freedom so people of those viewpoints can do what they want, or anybody in those relationships can live together,” said Gladhill.

Gladhill said that the fall semester will show a lot about how gender inclusive housing could work.

“There might be small issues, like guys might have problems, you know how males are. Like, ‘oh, a girl,’” said Gladhill.

Boykins agreed that problems could arise.

“I think randomly pairing them as gender inclusive is dangerous.”

Bell said the university does not anticipate any issues with gender inclusive arrangements.

“It’s not just an option for trans students,” Bell said. “It’s for any student who wants to live with their friend who’s not men or women. Most students who live off campus, they live with who they want and it’s not an issue.”

Giese agreed.

“We’re doing this because it’s the right thing and we want to give that option. I don’t know that I would expect anything specific. We’ll see our normal roommate conflicts.”