Residence Life Implements Gender Inclusion
Kyrie Long / Sun Star
This school year, students have the option to apply for campus housing with any eligible student, regardless of the gender of their co-applicant. “We are calling this pilot program our Gender-Inclusive floor,” says Laura McCollough, head of Residence Life at UAF. According to McCollough, there are gender inclusive floors in Wickersham, Cutler and Bartlett Hall. Bartlett Hall has also introduced a gender inclusive bathroom on the 6th floor, meaning the bathroom can also be used by members of any gender.
In 2014, representatives from the Residence Life Department met with the Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) several times in order to discuss how on-campus housing options could be more gender inclusive. This move was made in an attempt to reach out to students and gather their input and ideas. There was also an online forum open to all students for discussion at the time.
Though one of the goals the Gender Inclusive floors strives to reach is creating a safe environment for transgender students, the program allows for all students of varying sexualities and genders to participate. Anyone who is interested in sharing a co-ed dorm room may apply for the program. This option exists to benefit anybody who wishes to utilize it. “We encourage anyone who is interested in living in gender inclusive housing to come to the Residence Life Central Office to complete an application,” Megan Connaghan, area coordinator at UAF said.
As of Sept. 4, there are 29 students participating in the program.
In a Letter to the Editor written in May of last year, Connaghan also addressed Residence Life’s stance on anyone in a domestic relationship sharing a dorm room. “We do not recommend that any couple lives together in a residence hall room. However, students do not have to disclose relationships in order to live in gender-inclusive housing,” said Connaghan.