Co-ed housing slated for Fall 2015

by Anessia Hubler

Sun Star

 03/03/2015

UAF plans to select a floor of Bartlett Hall where people of all genders may share rooms in Fall 2015. The bathrooms on this floor will also be gender neutral, meaning people who identify with any gender can use them. UAF will be the first college in Alaska to do this and could be setting a trend for other University of Alaska campuses.

“Not all students feel comfortable using single-gender bathrooms or living in a male or female labeled room. Gender inclusive housing would allow students to select who they want to live with regardless of gender,” Megan Connaghan, Skarland Hall resident director, said.

This living area is for people of the opposite sex who want to live together like: boyfriends with girlfriends, brothers with sisters and close friends that would feel more comfortable living together than with someone else.

“It’s a way to give students a way to be open and live with whoever they want,” Dmitri Fish, a freshman health and social care management student, said.

According to Residence Life this may be more helpful to students than some may realize because UAF has a growing number of students who are transgender. This living area will give these students a safe and comfortable place to live.

“I have transgender friends that are scared to use gender-specific bathrooms, so they have to watch what they eat and drink,” Alicia Mackle, freshman business student, said.

The transgender students are afraid to use gender-specific bathrooms because they are unsure which bathrooms to use and worry that they may be judged or made fun of by other students said UAF student Michael Kelly.

“For example a transgender student might look like a girl but uses an all-males bathroom, and to most people this looks wrong,” Kelly said. According to Kelly, this floor will allow the student to get rid of these worries and live life with more ease because transgender people are usually embarrassed to go into gender specific bathrooms and sometimes even get teased about using some bathrooms.

“It seems like it’s going to be a safe place for people who feel uncomfortable. Personally, if my best friend was a guy I’d live with him,” freshman Ashland Williams said. If this floor is successful then UAF will begin to make other floors like it, according to Residence Life.

Some students are worried about problems coming from this new living situation. “What if people try sharing a shower, invading other peoples’ space – or if a boyfriend and girlfriend break up. Won’t that cause problems?” Walter Baxter, freshman computer science student who lives in Moore Hall, said.

Some other students are not worried because these situations will be handled like they would under any other circumstances. According to Residence Life, there are also rules against a lot of these things, such as sharing showers. Also, Residence Life workers are trained to diffuse situations if something comes up and if a student wants to change rooms it would be treated the same way it is now, where students would fill out a room change request form.

“I believe a floor opened for a community of unique sexuality and couples sound fantastic,” Christina Edwia, a freshman mathematics student, said.

According to Residence Life, due to strong student incentive, this floor will be in Bartlett Hall. “In the end this will help transgender people to be able to be themselves and have a lot of stress taken from them so that they can focus on their schooling,” Kelly said.

 

Correction March 4, 2015:

An earlier version of this article identified Michael Kelly as President of the GSA, which is incorrect, the President of the GSA is Brandy Flores. Also, the GSA was referred to as the Gay-Straight Alliance in an earlier version of this article. It has been corrected to reflect their current name, the Gender and Sexuality Alliance. Also, in a previous version of this article, gender neutral bathrooms were mentioned as accessible to both males and females, the article now reflects that gender neutral bathrooms are open to people who identify with any gender.

 

 

 

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9 Responses

  1. Jaz Dierenfield says:

    Michael Kelly is not the president (or a known member?) of the GSA at UAF and this article was very poorly written, especially when it comes to the transgender information. As a member of the lgbt community, I definitely think we need more accurate and clear representation than is given through this article.

  2. Zoey says:

    a lot of this info is really poorly phrased and inaccurate. First off who is Michael Kelly? Brandy Flores is the President of the GSA and has been for years. The way the info on Trans* people was presented really poorly and was not explained very well. This is the same type of story that occurs every time LGBT news is presented within the Sun Star. Last time I was interviewed for the school paper I was quoted out of context making me sound like a radical against Title IX, and that paper in particular literally had the words “LGBT Agenda.” I really don’t know what else to say other than I am dissapointed in the fact that this poor representation is becoming unsurprising.

  3. Brandon Richter says:

    Source check, fact check, you can’t print total lies its unprofessional and wrong. Also this floor is not just for transgender students this is just a floor for people. Like any other. Also we no longer have housing change forms these things are all done online.

  4. Danny Fisher says:

    “UAF plans to select a floor of Bartlett hall where males and females may share rooms in 2015. The bathrooms on this floor will be gender neutral, meaning males and females will both be able to use them. UAF will be the first college in Alaska to do this and could be setting a trend for other University of Alaska campuses.”

    – This says males and females may live together, and that the bathrooms will be neutral. Not that it’s specifically for transgendered people.

    Dictionary.com says that an agenda is “a list, plan, outline, or the like, of things to be done, matters to be acted or voted upon, etc.” – is this not an accurate term for the actions the LGBT community is taking?

    Zoey, I am sorry that you were taken out of context, but after reviewing the old article from the print paper, I found that most of your statements about Title IX were positive, with one (questionably attributed) quote from you saying that it could have been implemented better. I hope it reassures you that you did not sound as though you were against Title IX, but I also understand your frustration in feeling as though you were misrepresented.

    Brandon, does one fill out a housing change form online?

    Although citing the wrong person as president of the GSA is unforgivable, journalistically, I don’t understand what other discrepancies have been made in this article. Mention of the LGBT community was made to explain a bit of the justification for the movement to create a co-ed housing space – not to introduce or explain the community itself – and therefore it does not seem necessary to me to go into further detail about trans issues for the sake of this piece.

    I hope I have not come across as insensitive, but I think that while some of these inaccuracies are important to recognize and amend, some of the issues cited in the comments are a bit unfounded.

  5. AlyQu says:

    So a couple of things:
    1) Micheal Kelly is not the President of UAF GSA, Brandy Flores is.
    2) The gender-neutral dorms are not just for people who identify as male and female, but rather students of all gender identities and expressions. Moreover, it is not intended for opposite sexes or genders to live together.
    3) The purpose of the gender-neutral floor is to offer accommodation and safety for all students, regardless of gender, sex, expression, and/or identity.
    4) While ‘being teased’ is a consern of the LGBTQIAP community, that phrase does not do justice to the discrimination that this community faces. ‘Teasing’, in this sense, is the least of their worries.
    5) What this floor will provide is an opinion for those who do not necessarily fit within gender binanry identities, those who are transgender, all other students to live without the constraints and discrimination they would have to suffer through otherwise.

    This is an amazing first step within the UA system to become more gender inclusive and safe. I would also advise that GSA be a resource for those who wish to write about LGBTQIAP topics.

  6. Alyssa Quintyne says:

    So a couple of things:
    1) As many of the members have already stated, Micheal Kelly is not the president of UAF GSA, Brandy Flores is.
    2) The gender-neutral dorm floor is not only just for males and females, but rather students of all genders identities and expressions. It is also not intended for couples or siblings of any sex to live specifically together.
    3) The purpose of the gender-neutral dorm floor is to provide an option accommodation and safety for students who do not fit within the gender binary, who are transgender, and any students who do not feel comfortable or represented by the current requirements and constraints when living in the dorms.
    4) While ‘teasing’ is a concern within the LGBTQIAP community, that word does not do justice to the discrimination and harassment this community faces on campus.
    5) Gender-neutral bathrooms and, now, the dorm floor will provide accommodation, gender inclusion, and safety for those who have felt otherwise.

    This is an amazing first step for the UA system to become more gender inclusive to not only the LGBTQIAP community, but to all students. I would also advise that writers use UAF GSA as a resource when writing about LGBTQIAP topics, to avoid misinformation.

  7. Monique Valentine says:

    “I don’t understand what other discrepancies have been made in this article. Mention of the LGBT community was made to explain a bit of the justification for the movement to create a co-ed housing space – not to introduce or explain the community itself – and therefore it does not seem necessary to me to go into further detail about trans issues for the sake of this piece.”

    Alright well then we’re going to have to sit down and talk about this for a minute because it’s actually super important you have a through understanding of what went wrong here.

    “UAF plans to select a floor of Bartlett hall where males and females may share rooms in 2015. The bathrooms on this floor will be gender neutral, meaning males and females will both be able to use them. UAF will be the first college in Alaska to do this and could be setting a trend for other University of Alaska campuses.”

    1: If you are going to be writing an article about Gender Neutral Housing, you should probably refrain from using gendered pronouns. “Why,” you’re probably asking yourself, staring at this ridiculous aspie’s little tirade, “What would be the point!” (I’m assuming you’re asking yourself this now, because you no seemed to when the article was written, as evident by the gendered pronouns.) Well, the simple answer is that a safe environment, such as the one the GSA is trying to create, where the bathrooms and dormrooms are gender neutral will not be using Female or Male pronouns. Things will not be coded by gender in this housing situation, so why on earth would things be coded by gender when talking about them? They wouldn’t, is the simple answer.

    2: Saying things like “Males and Females will be able to use them” without even mentioning that there are people who identify outside of the Gender Binary seems to be in incredibly poor taste when writing about Gender Neutral Housing. There are people who are Agender, Gender Queer and Gender Fluid (just to name a few) who do not use Male or Female pronouns, either exclusively or at all. (You may think this is not relevant to this article, because essentially everything related to Gender is related to this article.)

    “This living area is for people of the opposite sex who want to live together like: boyfriends with girlfriends, brothers with sisters and close friends that would feel more comfortable living together than with someone else.”

    3: Well by golly, I don’t actually know where to start with this one. Hold on, wait, I do. Sex is not nearly as black and white as this. I mean, that, in and of itself, is it’s own issue that is not really necessary to get into; but it really bugs me when people don’t understand just how complex biological sex is.

    4: Okay, well, I can’t really take issue with mentioning the comfort factor; but it seems that there is some issues with the wording. “Boyfriends with girlfriends” “Brothers with sisters”, that’s just not the best wording. I don’t understand why “and” wasn’t used instead of “with”, but we don’t need to trail here.

    “According to Residence Life this may be more helpful to students than some may realize because UAF has a growing number of students who are transgender. This living area will give these students a safe and comfortable place to live.”

    5: Very true, mysterious journalist, very true. However, considering the GSA is one of the main advocates for Gender Neutral Housing and has also been one of the driving forces behind getting it approved, I think it would be more than prudent that the GSA be more than a mere afterthought when mentioning Gender Neutral Housing. Especially considering, when this was passed, I doubt the first thing on the collective mind of the Reslife Staff was “FINALLY, dating partners and siblings can live together!”.

    6: If you thought you were getting cookies for bringing up Trans* Issues, you were wrong, buddy person, you were so wrong. I looked through all your quotes from students on Trans* students and Gender Neutral Housing, and I noticed you had the audacity to talk about Trans* Issues without even talking to a Trans* Student? I understand that not ever Trans* student on campus would want to be outed via newspaper, but there are some (like in the GSA probably) who wouldn’t mind giving a quote or two probably. It just seems irresponsible to talk about Trans* Issues without anyone who is actually Trans* putting in their input as well.

    “According to Gender and Sexuality Alliance president Michael Kelly, the transgender students are afraid to use gender-specific bathrooms because they are unsure which bathrooms to use and worry that they may be judged or made fun of by other students.

    “For example a transgender student might look like a girl but uses an all-males bathroom, and to most people this looks wrong,” Kelly said. According to Kelly, this floor will allow the student to get rid of these worries and live life with more ease because transgender people are usually embarrassed to go into gender specific bathrooms and sometimes even get teased about using some bathrooms.”

    7: Again, I feel like this is something you should have talked about with someone who is actually Trans*. It’s just bad journalism.

    8: A lot of people have complained about this Michael Kelly thing, so let me just add to the pyre. Michael Kelly, in addition to not being the GSA President (Brandy Flores has been for years) does not even seem to go to this school. I don’t know how refutable any of your “sources” are at this point, since you couldn’t even bother to make sure this person existed before putting them in the Newspaper.

    9: It’s just– I’m in shock that y’all decided it was appropriate to talk about exclusively Trans* Issues without even getting so much as a quote from someone who is actually Trans*. It’s just bad journalism, in addition to being incredibly distasteful and completely misrepresenting the Trans* Community.

    “It seems like it’s going to be a safe place for people who feel uncomfortable. Personally, if my best friend was a guy I’d live with him,” freshman Ashland Williams said. If this floor is successful then UAF will begin to make other floors like it, according to Residence Life.

    Some students are worried about problems coming from this new living situation. “What if people try sharing a shower, invading other peoples’ space – or if a boyfriend and girlfriend break up. Won’t that cause problems?” Walter Baxter, freshman computer science student who lives in Moore hall, said.

    10: Alright, so, I get that living with your besties is so totally cool and awesome. That, however, seems like literally the least important part of gender neutral housing. (I really should have mentioned this earlier, but excuse me. I was distracted by your lack of journalistic integrity.)

    11: I really, really doubt these issues are going to be as big and bad as y’all thing. The homosexual, bisexual, pansexual, pollysexual, demi-sexual, and asexual students with same sex partners certainly haven’t had that big of an issue with it.

    “According to Resedence Life, due to strong student incentive, this floor will be in Bartlett Hall. “In the end this will help transgender people to be able to be themselves and have a lot of stress taken from them so that they can focus on their schooling,” Kelly said.”

    12: Alright, so, I may need a couple different points for this. First, why did y’all wait until 3/4’s through the article to mention this as a Trans* Issue?

    13: I keep coming back to this, but it is just astonishing that none of y’all thought to talk to a Trans* student about Trans* Issues. It’s just– how did no one think it was inappropriate to tell the public what Trans* Students think and feel about this without actually talking to Trans* Students? Y’all need to learn how to talk with people instead of over them.

    tl;dr: Trans* Issues poorly misrepresented, article is sloppy and badly constructed, failed to understand the point of Gender Neutral Housing, and completely ignored nonbinary students.

    0/10

  8. Monique Valentine says:

    THIS ONE IS EDITED

    “I don’t understand what other discrepancies have been made in this article. Mention of the LGBT community was made to explain a bit of the justification for the movement to create a co-ed housing space – not to introduce or explain the community itself – and therefore it does not seem necessary to me to go into further detail about trans issues for the sake of this piece.”

    Alright well then we’re going to have to sit down and talk about this for a minute because it’s actually super important you have a thorough understanding of what went wrong here.

    “UAF plans to select a floor of Bartlett hall where males and females may share rooms in 2015. The bathrooms on this floor will be gender neutral, meaning males and females will both be able to use them. UAF will be the first college in Alaska to do this and could be setting a trend for other University of Alaska campuses.”

    1: If you are going to be writing an article about Gender Neutral Housing, you should probably refrain from using gendered pronouns. “Why,” you’re probably asking yourself, staring at this ridiculous aspie’s little tirade, “What would be the point!” (I’m assuming you’re asking yourself this now, because no one seemed to when the article was written, as evident by the gendered pronouns.) Well, the simple answer is that a safe environment, things will not be coded by gender in this housing situation, so why on earth would things be coded by gender when talking about them? They wouldn’t, is the simple answer.

    2: Saying things like “Males and Females will be able to use them” without even mentioning that there are people who identify outside of the Gender Binary seems to be in incredibly poor taste when writing about Gender Neutral Housing. There are people who are Agender, Gender Queer and Gender Fluid (just to name a few) who do not use Male or Female pronouns, either exclusively or at all. (You may think this is not relevant to this article, but essentially everything related to Gender is related to this article.)

    “This living area is for people of the opposite sex who want to live together like: boyfriends with girlfriends, brothers with sisters and close friends that would feel more comfortable living together than with someone else.”

    3: Well by golly, I don’t actually know where to start with this one. Hold on, wait, I do. Sex is not nearly as black and white as this. I mean, that, in and of itself, is it’s own issue that is not really necessary to get into; but it really bugs me when people don’t understand just how complex biological sex is.

    4: Okay, well, I can’t really take issue with mentioning the comfort factor; but it seems that there is some issues with the wording. “Boyfriends with girlfriends” “Brothers with sisters”, that’s just not the best wording. I don’t understand why “and” wasn’t used instead of “with”, but we don’t need to trail here.

    “According to Residence Life this may be more helpful to students than some may realize because UAF has a growing number of students who are transgender. This living area will give these students a safe and comfortable place to live.”

    5: Very true, mysterious journalist, very true. However, considering the GSA is one of the main advocates for Gender Neutral Housing and has also been one of the driving forces behind getting it approved, I think it would be more than prudent that the GSA be more than a mere afterthought when mentioning Gender Neutral Housing. Especially considering, when this was passed, I doubt the first thing on the collective mind of the Reslife Staff was “FINALLY, dating partners and siblings can live together!”.

    6: If you thought you were getting cookies for bringing up Trans* Issues, you were wrong, buddy person, you were so wrong. I looked through all your quotes from students on Trans* students and Gender Neutral Housing, and I noticed you had the audacity to talk about Trans* Issues without even talking to a Trans* Student? I understand that not every Trans* student on campus would want to be outed via newspaper, but there are some (like in the GSA probably) who probably wouldn’t mind giving a quote or two. It just seems irresponsible to talk about Trans* Issues without anyone who is actually Trans* putting in their input as well.

    “According to Gender and Sexuality Alliance president Michael Kelly, the transgender students are afraid to use gender-specific bathrooms because they are unsure which bathrooms to use and worry that they may be judged or made fun of by other students.

    “For example a transgender student might look like a girl but uses an all-males bathroom, and to most people this looks wrong,” Kelly said. According to Kelly, this floor will allow the student to get rid of these worries and live life with more ease because transgender people are usually embarrassed to go into gender specific bathrooms and sometimes even get teased about using some bathrooms.”

    7: Again, I feel like this is something you should have talked about with someone who is actually Trans*. It’s just bad journalism.

    8: A lot of people have complained about this Michael Kelly thing, so let me just add to the pyre. Michael Kelly, in addition to not being the GSA President (Brandy Flores has been for years) does not even seem to go to this school. I don’t know how refutable any of your “sources” are at this point, since you couldn’t even bother to make sure this person existed before putting them in the Newspaper.

    9: It’s just– I’m in shock that y’all decided it was appropriate to talk about exclusively Trans* Issues without even getting so much as a quote from someone who is actually Trans*. It’s just bad journalism, in addition to being incredibly distasteful and completely misrepresenting the Trans* Community.

    “It seems like it’s going to be a safe place for people who feel uncomfortable. Personally, if my best friend was a guy I’d live with him,” freshman Ashland Williams said. If this floor is successful then UAF will begin to make other floors like it, according to Residence Life.

    Some students are worried about problems coming from this new living situation. “What if people try sharing a shower, invading other peoples’ space – or if a boyfriend and girlfriend break up. Won’t that cause problems?” Walter Baxter, freshman computer science student who lives in Moore hall, said.”

    10: Alright, so, I get that living with your besties is so totally cool and awesome. That, however, seems like literally the least important part of gender neutral housing. (I really should have mentioned this earlier, but excuse me. I was distracted by your lack of journalistic integrity.)

    11: I really, really doubt these issues are going to be as big and bad as y’all thing. The homosexual, bisexual, pansexual, pollysexual, demi-sexual, and asexual students with same sex partners certainly haven’t had that big of an issue with it.

    “According to Resedence Life, due to strong student incentive, this floor will be in Bartlett Hall. “In the end this will help transgender people to be able to be themselves and have a lot of stress taken from them so that they can focus on their schooling,” Kelly said.”

    12: Alright, so, I may need a couple different points for this. First, why did y’all wait until 3/4’s through the article to mention this as a Trans* Issue?

    13: I keep coming back to this, but it is just astonishing that none of y’all thought to talk to a Trans* student about Trans* Issues. It’s just– how did no one think it was inappropriate to tell the public what Trans* Students think and feel about this without actually talking to Trans* Students? Y’all need to learn how to talk with people instead of over them.

    tl;dr: Trans* Issues poorly misrepresented, article is sloppy and badly constructed, failed to understand the point of Gender Neutral Housing, and completely ignored nonbinary students.

    0/10

  9. Brandon Richter says:

    I would also like to point out that the gender neutral living community (GNLC) would be not only be for people who identify as either end of the spectrum. In the GNLC people of the same gender identity can live together if that’s the place they feel comfortable although I’m unsure id assume opposite gender pairs will be given preference. Another thing, the relation between the two people living together is not important, the GNLC is about comfort and feeling secure in your living environment.

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