You might think this is because some students feel they’re mature enough to share a room with a person of the opposite sex.
You’d be wrong. Read this post all the way to the end.
Alfonse Muglia of the Cornell Insider reports.
At its weekly meeting last Thursday afternoon, the Student Assembly adopted Resolution 12, which will give current students the option of selecting gender neutral housing starting this spring. The Resolution comes with only one week until information sessions begin for current freshman, sophomores, and juniors who plan to utilize Cornell housing next year.
This upcoming deadline compelled the Resolution’s sponsors to label it as “time sensitive” and was used as a tool to push the policy change to a vote, while limiting the time of debate that usually encompasses a change of this magnitude.
Because of the shortened debate (which was further interrupted by a scheduled visit from President Skorton), the details of the policy are not known, even to some Assembly members. But in the words of one Representative who voted in favor of the Resolution, “Giving students more options is always a good thing.”
What is known is that current students will have the option to live with a member of the opposing sex in Cornell dormitories. These rooms will then be grouped into small suites with other gender-neutral rooms. These suites will then be dispersed on various, random floors around West Campus and Program Housing next year, with the hope of stimulating conversation about “gender issues” that apparently exist at Cornell, although the Resolution supporters lacked any data on the number of students who are negatively affected by the current housing structure.
What is not known (besides the lack of supporting data) is how the application of the program will be evaluated or what (if anything) is stopping romantic couples from utilizing the Cornell housing system to live together next year.
The sponsors spoke of the need to establish an evaluation process; however, such a plan was not in place at the time of the Resolution’s adoption. The only ideas for a plan involve an evaluation after two years at which point the policy will be applied to freshman housing as well. With no evaluation process in place and deadlines looming, this expansion seems inevitable.
Further Student Assembly resolutions are needed to clarify important details to this policy that the Student Assembly, upon the Housing Office’s move under the jurisdiction of the Dean of Students in the past ten years, now has authority over.
Such details were missing as the sponsors rushed to get the Resolution passed, despite the fact that they could have brought it to the floor earlier in the semester, as many articulated throughout the brief debate.
These supporters spoke of a “structural change” that is needed within our housing system. Their argument, according to Resolution sponsor Emily Blick, ’13, involves removing all barriers for students who are confused because of “the gender you are assigned at birth.”
Gender-Neutral Housing Adopted by Student Assembly, With Haste (Cornell Insider)