In the past few weeks, Ohio University announced it would expand gender-neutral housing to five more residence halls. 

That expansion includes spaces in Boyd, Bromley, Bryan, Pickering and Sowle halls is an important step to providing students with inclusive housing options on campus. The program is in place to allow students to live in with other students regardless of their sex, sexual orientation or gender identity. It should be the goal of the university to provide students with a living environment that makes them feel safe and welcome.

Given the expansion of the program from 17 students in 2011 to 29 students this year — not including students who individually contacted Housing and Residence Life for gender-neutral housing assignments — the demand and need for gender-neutral housing is there. The program began in 2011, and Smith House has been the designated location for gender-neutral housing since then, but with the growth of the program, it is also important for the university to consider other spaces as well.

Students should have the ability to live in a space where they feel comfortable, regardless of their gender identity. The residence halls are where students do everything from studying and sleeping to making their closest friends, and nothing should stand in the way of that. The resources that students need — be it to find gender-neutral housing or choices such as quiet study or substance-free living options — could be more publicly available. It appears one has to be actively looking for such things to find them. However, expanding the availability is a positive move.

Raising the discussion about gender-neutral housing and increasing the number of spaces can make more people aware of the option who may not have heard about it. It is important for all students, even the students not in interested in the program, to understand the program and how to best be inclusive of everyone on campus. 

It also shows that university administrators are listening to students’ requests and concerns and are taking action about it. It is important for administrators to continue to do so to make campus as inclusive and welcoming as possible to all students. Expanding these spaces is a positive step in that direction. 

Editorials represent the majority opinion of The Post's executive editors: editor-in-chief Elizabeth Backo, managing editor Kaitlin Coward, digital managing editor Hayley Harding and senior editor Marisa Fernandez. Post editorials are independent of the publication's news coverage.

Comments powered by Disqus