Gender-neutral housing bill tabled at SA meeting

The Student Association senate did not vote on the gender-neutral housing bill as was expected on Tuesday night, instead opting to table the bill. The legislative body is expected to take the issue up again at a special senate meeting sometime next week.

The senate voted to table the bill at 11 p.m. after 45 minutes of debate. The meeting drew more than a dozen students who voiced both support and opposition to the bill, and more who sat along the wall to watch the senate proceedings.

The bill is a resolution of support for a gender-neutral housing option on campus. The University would still have to approve and implement the bill, if passed.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Michael Komo, U-At Large, said he was disappointed that the bill was not brought to a vote.

“We as elected leaders are meant to represent student issues,” Komo said. “It’s unfortunate that we did table it tonight, and I’m looking forward to discussing the issue.”

Komo defended the bill when he introduced it to the senate, charging that the University is in violation D.C.’s Human Rights Act and its own anti-discrimination policy by not providing proper housing for transgender students.

Sen. Giovanni Tomasi, ESIA-U, disagreed with Komo, arguing the claim was “one lawyer’s opinion.”

“GW doesn’t discriminate, it doesn’t say if you are whatever, you can’t have housing,” Tomasi said.

Rohmteen Mokhtari, a junior, was one of the students who came to the meeting in support of the bill. Mokhtari currently lives in the “Escaping Gender” LLC, which provides housing for a small number of transgender students.

“[Gender-neutral housing] makes it about the individual,” Mokhtari said. “It’s a great opportunity to have a housing arrangement that’s comfortable for all students.”

The senate meeting adjourned before the second bill of the evening, a resolution supporting the creation of an LGBT Studies minor, could be discussed.

The next regularly scheduled senate meeting is Feb. 2.

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