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Student Senate promotes gender neutral housing

Originally published October 29, 2010

Student Senate passed a resolution Monday recommending Bradley abolish current policies in order to allow opposite sex roommates for St. James Apartment Complexes, as well as the Main Street Commons.

According to the National Student Gender Blind Campaign’s 2010 Campus Equality Index,  12 universities in the U.S. currently offer gender neutral suites or apartments for upperclassmen students.

If the administration approves and accepts Senate’s resolution, Bradley would be the 13th university to join the list.

“It has been an issue since students even began living in St. James,” Director of Student Activities Michelle Whited said to the general assembly. “So this is not new and the administration shouldn’t be surprised. Maybe it’s time that Bradley actually dealt with the issue.”

One reason Senate passed the resolution, called the Roommate Choice resolution, is to create a comfortable environment for students who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered.

The resolution reads “It has been a trend among major national universities to allow opposite sex roommates in their dormitories and upperclassman apartments in order to accommodate students’ needs, particularly those of students who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender may feel more comfortable with a roommate of the opposite sex.”

Bradley’s gay straight alliance organization, Common Ground, said they support the resolution and think it would be a great option for students.

“For us it’s all about equality,” said the Common Ground executive board in a written statement. “We think that it’s a great idea to allow the option of co-ed roommates, but it doesn’t have anything to do with being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. We feel that regardless of sexual orientation, people might like to live with friends of the opposite sex. “

Student Body Treasurer and cosponsor of the resolution Andrew Kerr said keeping students comfortable in their living space is something Bradley should be flexible with.

“This is something the university certainly needs to address,” he said. “I think that whatever people need in order to perform best in an academic environment, like living with a roommate they are most comfortable with, is something the university shouldn’t stand in the way of.”

Vice President for Student Affairs Alan Galsky said with co-ed living arrangements there are often times serious conflicts.

“There are very specific reasons and rationale that co-ed roommates are not a part of the policy,” he said. “Incidents that could occur if a relationship of the opposite sex could go sour and be devastating both physically and morally and also illegal. Administrators have the responsibility to parents and the university to limit these situations and control them.”

Sophomore international studies major Kimberly Morrison said she agrees and thinks it might cause conflicts if couples live together.

“I would be concerned that people who sign leases and move in would be heterosexual couples,” she said. “Couples would break up during the year and people would be moving out of the building all the time.”

Now that the resolution is passed, it is taken to Galsky who will present it to the administration, the President’s Cabinet and then to the Parent’s Board.

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