USG considers gender-neutral student housing

Last night’s USG meeting featured the proposal of a resolution by the Queer and Ally Student  Assembly, which is arguing for gender-neutral housing in university-sponsored housing complexes and apartments.

The resolution, which was sponsored by Senator Brianna Thorpe and Vice President Rini Sampath, is a response to USC’s enforcement of a “gender binary,” or a male/female split in university housing arrangements. Under current university policy, USC relies on the registered sex of students to place students in housing.

“The current policy reinforces gender identities that are not representative of the entire Trojan Family,” Thorpe said.

Under the current policy, students who might not identify as male or female must fill out their gender on housing applications, and be assigned housing based on their answer.

Though USC currently has a “Rainbow Floor,”  a special interest residential community that currently provides gender neutral housing,  proponents of the resolution believe that this is not enough, especially compared to other schools.

“We’re actually behind many top universities,” said former Greek Senator Logan Heley. “Other universities in the Pac-12 and elsewhere already have gender-neutral housing in place.”

The proposed resolution would create a gender neutral option on student housing applications for students who do not identify within the gender binary. University suite-style housing complexes such as Trojan and Cardinal Gardens would be restructured to accommodate gender-neutral housing.

“The benefit is non-discrimination of people with different gender identities,” said QuASA representative Quyên Nguyen-Le. “Our school’s  non-discrimination clause, as well as California state law, includes protection based on gender identity.”

Six hundred and fourteen students have signed a petition supporting the resolution, as well as department officials in USC.

Supporters of the resolution believe that it is a smart financial decision as well.

“USC’s probably losing business by not offering this,” Heley said. “Students [who prefer gender neutral housing] are going to private apartments, whose owners don’t care as long as they get a check.”

The USG Senate will vote on the resolution next week.