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, policy proposal was approved by administrators in Housing, Residential Life, and Community Development 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

After working closely with administrators to develop the details of the policy, Sarah Weiss, Avi Edelman, and Miranda Elliot wrote a proposal for CCSC and ESC. Sean Udell later insisted on having his name be added to the proposal even though he played a minor role in writing it, because he is a giant attention-seeking tool. The policy was passed unanimously by ESC and nearly-unanimously by CCSC (Senators Monica Quaintance and Alex Frouman voted against the proposal, because they were also massive tools).

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.