Senate votes to support gender-neutral housing

Vice President for Student Affairs Spencer Eldred presents the resolution to support mixed-gender housing options at the DSG meeting Wednesday.
Vice President for Student Affairs Spencer Eldred presents the resolution to support mixed-gender housing options at the DSG meeting Wednesday.

Students wanting to room with members of the opposite sex may soon have that option.

Duke Student Government senators passed a resolution supporting the creation of gender-neutral housing options at their meeting Wednesday night. If approved, the resolution may allow for mixed-gender suites, mixed-gender apartments and halls with mixed gender rooms.

Peer institutions including Yale, Harvard and Stanford Universities provide gender-neutral housing, according to the resolution.

But junior Tommy O’Malley, Campus Council’s liaison to DSG, noted that a North Carolina law prohibits this type of housing.

“The Ivy League schools don’t have to get around this N.C. law and Duke does,” O’Malley said during the meeting’s open forum. Campus Council confronted the legislation earlier in the year in discussions with the University’s lawyers.

Campus Council voted to approve a gender-neutral bathroom in Kilgo Quadrangle in 2008. Vice President for Student Affairs Spencer Eldred, a senior, said Campus Council’s initiative was a “very progressive stab” and that DSG should follow up with gender-neutral housing.

“This [resolution] is saying that this needs to happen, even if that means that the law has to change,” Eldred said.

Students at the meeting discussed DSG-Campus Council relations in addition to the resolution. O’Malley said there has not been much collaboration between the two bodies. He added that Campus Council has already looked into the issue of gender-neutral housing.

DSG President Awa Nur, a senior, said DSG initiated the resolution after a student sought DSG’s support, adding that DSG is not trying to step on Campus Council’s toes.

“This is a perception within Campus Council that we are attacking you guys any time we address a housing initiative,” Nur said.

In other business:

Senators approved an amendment encouraging the Office of Information Technology to promote double-sided printing, which would reduce paper use across campus. If OIT approves the resolution, double-sided printing will become the default option in students’ laptops, desktops and at ePrint terminals.

Student Affairs Senator Molly Superfine, a freshman, said OIT has expressed support for this program. She added that President Richard Brodhead identified double-sided printing as a cost-cutting measure in his Primetime address Feb. 16.

The Senate passed a resolution supporting a trial run that would make The Refectory Café at the School of Law open at various times on Saturdays. The trial run would take place from March 27 to April 24.

The Senate also approved a resolution that would establish a Web site allowing students to provide feedback on off-campus housing. Junior Will Passo, vice president for Durham and regional affairs, said the site would eventually allow students to see where past juniors and seniors have lived and learn more information about off-campus housing.

“This could be a really nice tool for people who want to live off campus,” Passo said.


Share and discuss “Senate votes to support gender-neutral housing” on social media.