Gender Inclusive Housing

By Karissa Gaughan & Ava Neely1851 Contributors

Campus implements gender inclusive housing that allows students to select multi-gender housing without needing permission. Photo by Karissa Gaughan

The Office of Residential Life is establishing gender-inclusive housing for the 2022 Fall term in an effort to support all students at the university.

A gender-inclusive housing community means when signing up for roommates, gender will not be a factor in whether someone can or cannot live in the same room with another. Assigning rooms in an ungendered fashion eliminates assigning roommates with binary gender barriers.

As one of their objectives for this academic year, SGA proposed gender-inclusive housing to Residential Life. After a lengthy process, they passed the new rules.

Scott Lamphere, Director of Residential Life and Coordinator of Student Conduct, said, “for many of our students, it is an issue of equity and feeling comfortable and safe in their living environment. By not restricting gender-inclusive options, we are striving for equal access to housing options for all students.”

Lasell has had gender-neutral housing before but students needed to be approved upon request to live in multi gendered rooms. This was on a small scale compared to having the entire campus become gender-inclusive housing.

The only exception to this new rule is a few all-female buildings.

First-year Zak Burkett said he thinks that the new rule is more inclusive for the community.

“I think that gender-neutral dorms are a great sign of maturity in our community because we can look past gender and see people at their true core, confidently expressing who they are,” Burkett said. “I think this has been a long time coming for Lasell.”

After students sign their housing agreement, they’re met with options on the preference of all-women’s housing, environmental-justice living, honors housing, quiet study housing, equity and intersectionality housing, wellness housing, and this year’s added gender-inclusive housing.

A separate drop-down asks if students would feel comfortable living in an ungendered room.

First-year student Felicia Troisi said she also thinks this is a positive for the university.

“Personally, for me, I am unaffected by gender-neutral dorms,” Troisi said. “It doesn’t upset me in any way, and seems nice to see that it is an option here at Lasell.

First year Adrianna Marchi said that “having gender-neutral dorms provides a really great opportunity for students to feel more welcomed and comfortable in their living situation.”

The Room Draw Booklet, which was sent out by Residential Life on April 8, said gender-inclusive bathrooms have varied by building. Internal and suite bathrooms, such as in West and Bragdon Halls, are considered ungendered.

Victorian houses have single-use bathrooms with locking doors and have always been ungendered. Traditional residence halls with group bathrooms like Woodland and McClelland Halls have gendered student bathrooms. These are still expected to be used in correspondence to identified gender, regardless of room designation.

If there is a vacancy, roommates can select someone to fill the spot. If they are unable to do so, Residential Life will either put the person in an ungendered room with vacancies or in a single-gendered living option.

Babson College has had gender-inclusive housing since 2017 and a dedicated page on their college website for gender identity terms, policies, and all-gender restrooms on campus.

Brandeis University has committed itself to provide safe and supportive housing options for students on campus. More colleges in the United States have done the same, such as Brown, Stanford, Clark, and the University of Pennsylvania.

Surrounding the decision of other school’s to start trying to become more gender-inclusive, Lasell has also been changing their housing to accommodate for gender inclusion.

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