The Associated Students of Claremont McKenna College Executive Board and Senate voted Feb. 27 in support of incorporating gender neutral housing in some residence halls. Currently, CMC is the only co-ed Claremont College where students of different gender identities cannot live together.
“The proposal has two sections,” said Miles Lifson ’13, the CMC Senate President Pro-Tempore. “The first section lifts restrictions on roommate gender for multi-occupant rooms on mixed-gender floors. Returning students drawing into a double on a mixed-gender floor could opt to live with a roommate of whatever gender they wish. The choice would be voluntary and self-selected. This part of the proposal would not change any bathroom designations, the overall room draw process or affect existing single-gender floors.”
The second part of the passed proposal will create a housing option designed to cater to the needs of transgender students, Lifson said.
“It recommends that the college include single-occupant bathrooms in future buildings and renovations where feasible. It also would encourage the Dean of Students Office to investigate ways to provide access to at least one dorm at CMC with a gender neutral bathroom, but to do so in a way that doesn’t eliminate access to single-sex bathrooms for other students,” he said.
Next, the proposal, which garnered overwhelming support among the student officers, residence assistants and Dean of Students and Director of Residential Life Eric Vos, will go to the Board of Trustees for approval.
“The Board of Trustees has a history of taking student opinion very seriously, and student opinion on this proposal is clear,” Lifson said.
If approved, the policy will go into effect during the 2013 Room Draw for the 2013-2014 school year.
Lifson said he hopes the new policy will attract more diverse applicants.
“We hope the change will make CMC a more attractive option to candidates who would otherwise be a great fit for CMC, but look elsewhere because we lack a gender neutral housing option,” he said. “Over the course of over a year, we’ve studied countless policies at other institutions, interviewed administrators from our sister schools about their experiences and crafted a proposal that reflects the unique nature of CMC. I think that we’ve created a policy that does an excellent job of expanding the housing options available to students, but doing so in a way that doesn’t impact students happy under the status quo.”