For questions, more information, or concerns regarding the Gender Neutral Housing Policy, please contact the Department of Community Living at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students who wish to speak to other students regarding gender identity or gender neutral housing may wish to contact Triskelion or the Queer Resource Center. They can be reached at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gender Neutral Housing
Glossary of Terms
The following terms are essential to understanding the gender neutral housing policy:
- Single-Gender – A floor or community in a residence hall that is designated as male or female. Single-gender floors exist in the Castle, East, the Village, and North.
- Mixed-Gender – A floor or community in a residence hall for students of any gender. Mixed-gender floors are found in Massell, North, East, and the Village. All suites and apartments in the Castle, Rosenthal, Ziv, Ridgewood, Charles River, 567 South St, and the Foster Mods are considered mixed-gender.
- Gender neutral – A housing option in-which two or more students may share a multiple-occupancy bedroom, in mutual agreement, regardless of the students’ sex or gender. Any room in a mixed-gender area may be considered gender neutral.
- Gender– Social understandings of sex categories which may or may not align with biological sex.
- Gender expression– Presentations of masculinity or femininity through how one looks, acts, and dresses.
- Gender identity – The inner sense of being male or female.
- Sex– A determination made through the application of socially agreed upon biological criteria for classifying persons as females or males.
- Sexual orientation – The romantic or physical attraction to another person. It can be considered as ranging along a continuum from same-sex attraction only at one end of the continuum to opposite-sex attraction only at the other end.
- Transgender– Umbrella term that describes many people who transcend “normative” embodiments of masculine and feminine, including transsexuals, genderqueers, and other gender variant people.
Gender Neutral Housing Policy
Gender neutral housing is defined as a housing option in-which two or more students may share a multiple-occupancy bedroom, in mutual agreement, regardless of the students’ sex or gender. Gender neutral housing supports the University’s non-discrimination policy and fully commits to the principles of social justice with respect to sexual orientation, sex, gender, and gender identity. Gender neutral housing provides housing options for students who may identify as transgender or are questioning their gender identity or do not wish to prescribe to gender classifications. Gender neutral housing also decreases heteronormative assumptions regarding housing assignments. Students who are uncomfortable with a same-sex roommate or do not wish to have a same-sex roommate also have more housing options to choose from.
Gender neutral housing applies to all multiple-occupancy rooms on mixed-gender floors in East and the Village, double rooms in suites in the Castle and Rosenthal, and efficiency apartments in 567 South St. These options will not impact the option of selecting single-gender housing. Gender neutral options cover multiple floors, buildings, and quads such that occupants of gender neutral spaces are not segregated to only one or two halls. Gender neutral bathrooms are designated on mixed-gender floors when possible.
Rooms on mixed-gender floors are considered gender neutral rooms only when two or more students agree to live together. Students agree to live together when they select a room together during Room Selection in the spring semester. Students must self-select the gender neutral housing option. Gender neutral housing will never be forced upon a student. If a vacancy occurs in a room on a mixed-gender floor, the room is not treated as a gender neutral space. The remaining occupants may pull in a student to maintain the gender neutrality of the room or the Department of Community Living will assign a student to the room. The sex of the students will be considered when a vacancy exists in a multiple occupancy space. Vacancies in suites and apartments will be treated as gender neutral if the occupants of the suite originally filled the space as a gender neutral space. If the suite or apartment is housed as a single-gender space, the gender of the space will be maintained and the unit will not be treated as a gender neutral space.
Gender neutral housing is not available for first-year students. Rooms are only gender neutral when students agree to live together, and the housing process for first-year students does not allow for the appropriate agreement. First-year students who want a gender neutral space should contact the Department of Community Living, and an appropriate housing assignment will be made.
Critics of gender neutral housing believe that the option promotes promiscuity and encourages students in heterosexual relationships to live together. At Brandeis, students in relationships already have the option to live together in suites and apartments, and most students in relationships do not choose to live together. The Department of Community Living discourages all students in romantic relationships from living together. This criticism also assumes that students who select gender neutral housing are heterosexual, and it does not take into account that students in same-sex relationships have always had the opportunity to live together.