Originally published: Nov. 15, 2012, 9:43 a.m.
Updated: Nov. 15, 2012, 12:53 p.m.
Members of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees approved a proposal on Thursday that would allow students to chose their dormitory roommates regardless of gender. The flagship public school becomes the first UNC System institution to approve the new housing option, which will be available to students next fall.
The proposal was initially denied by Chancellor Holden Thorp earlier this year. A committee of several trustees unanimously backed the plan this week.
Students at the school have been campaigning for the change for some time. They say being given the option to chose their own roommates will increase safety. Many LGBT students, they say, have faced bullying and harassment living with unfriendly or hostile roommates.
“No one should feel unsafe,” senior Zaina Alsous, one of the campaign’s student organizers, told The News & Observer. “Dorms are rites of passage, and no one should miss out.”
Chapel Hill becomes the first public college or university in North Carolina to offer a gender-neutral housing choice. Nearly 100 other schools across the country already offer similar housing choices, including North Carolina private schools Duke University, Guilford College, and Warren-Wilson College.