Mixed-sex housing decision imminent

After the issue lay dormant over the summer, the University’s decision on whether or not to implement gender-neutral housing will be made within the next few weeks, according to one of the issue’s main advocates.

Michael Komo, a former Student Association Senator and president of Allied in Pride, led a highly publicized effort last year, urging the University to implement gender-neutral housing, which would allow students to opt into living with members of the opposite sex.

Last week, Komo met with Peter Konwerski, the University’s senior associate vice president and dean of students, to discuss the issue. Komo said the administration is close to making its final decision on whether or not the policy will be passed for the 2011-2012 academic year.

“I’m very cautiously optimistic that we will be receiving a positive answer this fall.” Komo said.

University spokeswoman Michelle Sherrard confirmed that the University is still in talks to decide whether or not to implement the policy, but declined to give any updates on where the University stands on the issue until a final decision has been made.

“The University currently is evaluating the expansion of gender neutral housing on campus,” Sherrard said. “We will provide an update once a decision has been reached.”

Komo said he hopes these issues will become active and available by the fall of 2011, adding that Allied in Pride will continue to advocate for gender-neutral housing in order to ensure that GW transforms into a “gay positive” community. In a community like this, there are active resources available to LGBT students such as the GW LGBT Resource Center.

More than 60 colleges and universities across the country have implemented the gender-neutral housing policy, with an average of almost 2 percent of the student population participating in the option.

“This would be a program where anyone who is more comfortable rooming with the opposite would be able to do so,” said Komo.

A second initiative, which would create an LGBT minor at the University, was also advocated for by the SA and LGBT groups last year, however, that issue has been stalled.

The minor would be offered through the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences’ Women’s Studies Program and would focus on issues related to members of the LGBT community.

Despite an initial enthusiasm, Daniel Moshenberg – the chair of the Women’s Studies Program who initiated the creation of the minor – said that there has been little movement in regards to implementing the curriculum.

“There are no updates,” Moshenberg said.

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