Photo by Brenda Lin

As early as 2005, universities across the country began adding optional gender neutral or “co-ed” housing options for students who prefer to live in quarters with persons of other genders,  a service which Tech could easily provide for students by rearranging existing infrastructure.

Gender neutral housing would allow students to feel comfortable in their dorm, regardless of their gender expression or identity.  By setting aside just a few floors of a single residence hall as gender neutral, students could room with their friends regardless of the sex they are legally recognized as. Most importantly, trans and nonbinary students who struggle to live with other students who share their gender identity would benefit from this set-up. Gender neutral living arrangments would provide a more understanding atmosphere, and would not forcibly out  students.

Additionally, rooms would only be opt-in, allowing students to have full control over who they choose to live with.  Nowhere would Tech allow random assignment to persons of opposite gender to the same room without all parties involved having explicitly opted into living together. With most buildings already co-ed by floor, the solution is simple, and Tech could easily advertise it as an option as early as next year.

Some would argue that this living situation promotes cohabitation; but, given the current housing structure, it is not as if cohabitation is not already occurring, albeit unoffically.

We are not asking for a complete overhaul of the current housing system — only for a small adjustment. Moreover, it is important for the Institute, and part of the Institute’s duty, to provide all Tech students a safe environment to live and learn in. Making simple changes to the pre-existing structure is just one more way they can do that for very little cost or inconvenience.