Opinion » Editorial
The college’s plan to pilot gender-neutral housing next fall follows a long-overdue trend in inclusive housing options at universities across the nation. It is fitting that Ithaca College plans to implement the program — both our town and our school are continuously recognized as LGBT-friendly environments, and this seems a proper next step in extending these accolades.
It is good to see that Ithaca College is not alone in these plans. In September, Cornell University passed a resolution to further consider gender-neutral housing in the 2008-09 academic year. Both Colgate University and Wells College reported last fall that college housing officials have seen some demand for gender-neutral housing and have encouraged students on campus to seek the implementation of a program at their own schools. Gender-neutral housing programs already exist at Wesleyan and Swarthmore universities and will be employed at Dartmouth and Carnegie Mellon universities.
This housing option will undoubtedly meet some criticism — mostly concern that students will abuse this program as an opportunity to “shack up” with a heterosexual counterpart. It is easy for people to forget, or to ignore, the fact that some students do not identify as a particular gender. This option opens doors to them that should have never been kept shut and will help dispel the common perception that it is difficult for men and women to have platonic relationships. With this in mind, students who do enroll in the option must take the opportunity seriously. Living responsibly and respectfully in this new environment is imperative to its success and the satisfaction of all its residents.