Open Housing (formerly Gender Neutral Housing) is the term for the series of policies put forward by the Columbia College Student Council and Engineering Student Council beginning in the 2009-10 academic year. The policies focus on changing the rules governing how Housing Services deals with gender and gender identity in the residence halls.
In 2010, under the direction of then-VP Policy Sarah Weiss, a trial run was approved by administrators for the upcoming year which would allow students to opt into the system. The new rules would be:
- A student could opt to live with someone who is listed in the system as having a different gender
- Housing would allow students to claim exclusion from the gender binary, such as identifying as transsexual
- A student who is being assigned a random roommate would not be assigned one of a differing gender, unless specifically requesting that option
Despite administrative approval, the trial run was ultimately not implemented due to the scheduling of Deans Michele Moody-Adams and Feniosky Pena-Mora, who had to also approve the program, but did not have time to formally review it before Room Selection. A task force was enacted to pursue the issue further.
Approval and Implementation
In November 2010, Dean Kevin Shollenberger announced that Dean Moody-Adams and Dean Peña-Mora had approved a trial program for 2011-2012. The program would be available only to upperclass students and only in Wien, 600 W 113th St, Ruggles, East Campus, 47 Claremont, and Woodbridge.