Open Housing

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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[1]. The program would be available only to upperclass students and only in Wien, 600 W 113th St, Ruggles, East Campus, 47 Claremont, and Woodbridge.


  1. Breaking: Deans Approve Open Housing, Pilot Program Coming in the Fall
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