UNC System Bans Gender-Inclusive Housing, Becomes First State University To Do So

During a meeting that took place last Friday, August 9th, the University of North Carolina's Board of Governors voted by consent to pass a ban on gender-inclusive dormitory assignments for all 17 of its different campuses. The gender-inclusive policy was previously adopted by UNC Chapel Hill, which likely prompted the board's quick passage of the subsequent ban. 

According to Campus Pride, the new policy reads:

"The constituent institutions shall not assign members of the opposite sex to any institutionally owned and operated dormitory room, dormitory suite, or campus apartment unless the students are siblings, parent and child, or they are legally married. This policy applies to housing assignments beginning with the fall 2013 semester."

The group also reports that:

"Campus Pride was in attendance at the meeting where UNC students were not allowed on the agenda. Nor did the UNC Board of Governors hear any research related to how the ban negatively impacts campus safety.  Based on Campus Pride national research conducted by Dr. Sue Rankin, 'trans-spectrum students are already an at-risk population.'  She also writes, 'The Campus Pride 2010 State of Higher Education report was one of the first national studies to examine the climate on college campuses. The study involved more than 5,000 LGBTQ students, staff, and faculty and found that almost a quarter of the LGBTQ respondents and about one third of the trans-identified respondents had experienced harassment or violence on campus because of their sexual or gender identity.'"

It is not yet clear exactly how UNC's newe housing policy will draw the lines with regard to students in the trans sprectum, or exactly how the policy will define "sex" in the first place. No doubt that the boards decisions in that realm have the potential to exacerbate the situation even more. After all, the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education recently issued a settlement agreeing that trans students are protected under Title IX.

In the meantime, Campus Pride has assembled the Trans Policy Clearinghouse, which is self-described as "the most up-to-date resource of its kind with trans campus policy and safety issues." The site is designed to be a resource for trans people attending any university, not simply those at UNC. 


  1. Michael says

    Even in an educational institution of higher learning there is no intellectual discussion regarding sex. Once when I was teaching sex ed as an advanced placement class for senior high school girls a parent told me she didn’t want her child exposed to any overt sexual discussions. If her daughter didn’t hear of sexual goings on, she wouldn’t be tempted to become involved in sex. Setting aside the fact that the kid was in the class by choice, I said I’d be sure to keep my car keys well hidden, so her daughter wouldn’t want to drive. Being an educational institution doesn’t mean being intelligent, I guess.

  2. terry says

    So they are promoting same sex sleeping arrangements. That’ how I got to better “know” my roomie in college. Poor bastards don’t know what they fear more: homosex or premarital hetro-sex. This decision will stop neither.

  3. GregV says

    I’m having a hard time understanding how this seems to be new and surprising or that it gets in the way of “safety.”
    Conventionally, personal spaces like dorms, sleeping arrangements, toilets and showers have tended to be sex-segregated in America.
    I remember as a kid being allowed, like most kids, to invite ONLY same-sex friends for sleep-overs.
    In college dormitories (I’ve lived in several), single students shared apartments or bedrooms with only same-sex roommates. I have experienced co-ed bathrooms down the hall (not the norm, but I’ve had that), and it was a little awkward to use the urinals or sit down-stalls seeing the high heels of the girl next door as she took a dump in the next stall.
    I grew up in team sports, so passing the shampoo in a communal shower with male teammates is perfectly normal to me, but in the co-ed dorm showers (with a breast-to knees divider to protect the girls from male oglers), it felt a little awkward (Some guys would try to face away from the girl so as not to embarrass her, and I know some girls would have felt “safer” in a women-only environment).
    We just don’t grow up in this society doing this “personal business” with opposite-sex classmates.

    As for trans students, I don’t see how this will be unusually problematic for them either, unless the colleges have decided they are going to dictate their gender.

  4. Hagatha says

    “sex” has a definition.

    At the University Of Maryland the problem wasn’t people who objected to transexuals being assigned to their dorm room, it was simply gross incompatibility and the reluctance of the school to do anything about it. My sister was assigned a gorilla as a roommate and spend one entire semester commuting while paying for a room she wasn’t using.

  5. Serene says

    Don’t mind me. I was rejected by a transman last night. He said I was a pathetic wimp and I’m really steamed about it. If only I wasn’t so monstrously narrow minded

  6. Hagatha says

    By sister, I actually mean a person I just made up. I pretend to have anecdotal experience with regards to this story because I’m actually just an alias of Rick/Jason.

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