OU Gender Neutral Housing Working Out The Bugs

By
Katie Doup

Dateline
Updated Thu, Oct 13, 2011 10:37 am

Gender Neutral Housing is now an available living community on Ohio University's campus.

University officials say the first quarter of the pilot program, which is currently located on South Green, has been successful so far.

Gender Neutral Housing Resident Assistant Amelia Shaw says, "There are about 17 people living there right now. It's been getting bigger. I've had people move in. People are very interested and I think we have some applications on the way. So, it keeps getting bigger and bigger."

Shaw says that one of the only differences her floor has from any other is the bathroom situation.

"There's one stall and one shower.  So, really only one person can be in there at one time unless you put one person in the bathroom and one person in the shower.  So, what we do is we have signs that say occupied or open, so when someone goes in you just change the sign to occupied and then when you leave you change the sign to open," says Shaw.

"There haven't been any problems and there's really nothing different from any residence hall.  The only difference is that I feel my floor is a little more interactive and they really want to build that community, which sometimes floors aren't always like that.  It's more individualized.  But, this floor really wants to have that group mentality, group community," says Shaw.

Vice President of Student Affairs Kent Smith says that Ohio University was prepared to deal with possible opposition.

Smith says "As a university, we knew that potentially there would be some backlash, no different than the first time you had men and women in the same residence hall. This is no different."

But he says so far, everything has gone smoothly.

Smith says that the new housing environment is simply about providing an opportunity to have a more inclusive environment, for those who want it.

"Males have females that are best friends, and vice versa.  So for us, from a housing standpoint, this merely creates a opportunity that's one more fraction, if you will, of a seperate housing unit, such as substance-free housing," Smith says.

 

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