University Housing and Residential Life now offers gender-inclusive housing for students applying to on-campus housing options for Fall 2017.
Laura Randolph, associate director of Residential Life, and Kevin Williams, director of Residential Life said the applications were made available to students on Monday. The option gives more freedom for students to live in suites or apartments on campus no matter their biological sex, gender identity or sexual orientation.
“It’s really been many years in the works,” Randolph said. “When TSG and [Residence Hall Association] approached us saying, ‘We need this, this is an accommodation that our students are asking for,’ that’s when we started talking with administrators and junior staff to find what we could do to make this happen.”
Gender-inclusive housing will be available for upperclassmen in Temple Towers and Morgan Hall, while freshmen and incoming students will reside in White Hall and 1940 Residence Hall, said Kelsey Mallon, RHA president.
TSG worked with students to find out what they wanted for gender-inclusive housing, then relayed that information to the departments at Temple that were also pushing for it, said Titus Knox, TSG’s director of student affairs and former president of Queer Student Union.
“When we heard that there was an initial need for gender-inclusive housing, that got sent to the higher-ups so they can understand what students are looking for, what they’re interested in and that’s kind of how TSG works with a lot of initiatives,” Knox added.
In 2014, the RHA’s community council representatives circulated student petitions that requested gender-inclusive housing.
“That was the big year when it was student-run because they were going off student interest,” Mallon said. “But the past two years, it was mainly the professional staff in Residential Life who were trying to push through the Provost’s to the Board of Trustees.”
In December 2016, Trustee Loretta Duckworth announced that gender-inclusive housing had been approved by the Board of Trustees, concluding the two-year push.
“For our first year, we have a select group of rooms,” Randolph said. “Students will complete the regular housing application and a special gender-inclusive housing application as well.”
After gender-inclusive housing is fully implemented, TSG officers will communicate with students to get feedback.
“We’re going to be working closely with the students just to see how they react to all the information, like if there’s any pushback, any confusion, that they understand the process and how it works, and just answering any questions they may have about the proposal,” Knox said.
“I was a part of Temple’s Queer Student Union and working directly with students who want gender-inclusive housing the most kind of helped me to get an idea of what they were interested in, what they want and how they wanted it to happen,” Knox added.
Eventually, RHA’s goal is to add gender-inclusive housing to all residence halls, Mallon said. “I think this is definitely a stepping stone to have this whole thing work out.”
Amanda Lien can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @amandajlien.