Residential Life and Housing

About Gender Blind/Neutral Housing

The proposal for gender blind/neutral housing was submitted in Spring 2006 by two undergraduate students. It has been discussed in a campus-wide Town Meeting, at Senior Leadership, and by the Board of Trustees at the April 2006 Board meeting. The Board's Student Affairs Committee also held an open session for all Trustees on November 30; that discussion was supportive of this decision and was taken into account by Senior Leadership in making the final decision.

More and more schools are embracing gender blind/neutral housing policies. Clark is not the first. Schools that currently allow gender blind/neutral living arrangements include: Bennington, Brown, Colorado College, University of California/Riverside, Guilford, Hampshire, Haverford, Humboldt State University, Lewis and Clark, Lawrence University, Oberlin, University of Michigan, University of Pennsylvania, Sarah Lawrence, Swarthmore, University of Southern Maine and Wesleyan.

Gender blind/neutral housing is a housing option that has no restrictions about the gender of roommates. This means that a male student and a female student can jointly choose to live together in a double room. Under this plan, different sexed roommates are never randomly assigned. Now, like any roommate request, Clark's Residential Life and Housing Office will only honor requests made by both parties mutually. Gender blind/neutral housing will be offered side by side to traditional housing in mixed class halls. This option is not available to first-year students.

This housing choice provides options for transgender students in the process of discovering their gender identity, gay or bisexual students, students who feel uncomfortable rooming with members of the same sex, intersexed students who do not wish to be identified by any sex, and students who feel they would be more compatible with a roommate of a different gender. This policy helps create an environment that acknowledges, appreciates and respects the diverse nature of the Clark student body, while giving students more options in finding a roommate who is truly compatible.

Technically, under this policy, male and female couples would be able to live together. It is important to note that in colleges that were researched, straight couples electing to live in gender neutral housing were rare; the fact is that couples (gay or straight) know the difficulties of living together and seldom elect to do so.