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Gender Neutral Housing Has A New Name, Task Force

Vernacular change alert! Gender Neutral Housing will now be called Open Housing, and you better believe it has a task force. We’ve confirmed the makeup and goals of the task force with Dean Shollenberger’s office, and here’s what we found out. The Task Force (that’s right, uppercase as in Official) will be working on a pilot program for the 2011-2012, which will affect the the mysterious 2014ers picking into doubles more than their 2013 and 2012 elders. It will be divided into committees (cant stop wont stop committes 2010!) which will meet over the summer. The committees will focus on implementing a program, education and research about Open Housing, and potential logistical issues. The idea is to have a proposal ready for Deans Moody-Adams and Pena-Mora by mid-September. The official goals of the Task Force are outlined as follows:

  • In keeping with the spirit of the proposal’s intent, the Task Force will propose “pilot” educational programs that will promote open housing as a means for individuals to select safe and comfortable living situations (this may include suggested changes to the lottery information sessions and tours as well as broader community dialogs).
  • The Task Force will explore and make recommendations for “provisional” language in the housing contracts as well as “pilot” roll-out materials.
  • The Task Force will submit recommendations for the best Housing facilities to pilot the program.
  • The Task Force will propose a timeline and methods for evaluating the effectiveness of the “pilot” program to determine whether the program should be expanded or discontinued.

The Task Force is made up of Heidi Ahmed, ESC Rep and SEAS ’11, Katherine Bell SEAS ’12, Sonal Bothra RA Rep and CC ’12, Avi Edelman Gender Neutral Housing Proposal Co-author and CC ’11, Sean Manning Udell CC Rep CC’11, Sarah Weiss CCSC VP of Policy, Alumni Rep, Gender Neutral Housing Proposal Co-author and CC ’10, as well as Joyce Jackson, Cristen Kromm (Asst. Dean of Community Development and Res Programs), Terry Martinez (Dean of Community Development & Multicultural Affairs), Lea Robinson (Manager of LGBTQ Advising and Programming), and Kevin Shollenberger.

Bwog checked in with Avi Edelman to ask how the first Open Housing meeting went. His thoughts: “One of the reasons the delay of the implementation of gender-neutral housing was so disappointing was that those of us who were proposing it felt, and continue to feel, that allowing any two consenting students to room together is a simple and commonsensical step, and hardly a major policy shift that merits the cautious approach of a task force. That said, I am truly thrilled that students and administrators are coming together to see this policy through, and I’m extremely optimistic about the task force…”

Until the next round, boys and girls!

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  • ummm says:

    @ummm no genderevolution representation on the task force?

  • holy shit says:

    @holy shit there’s so much bureaucratic ridiculousness at this university…

  • HEIDI AHMED says:


    1. Lady Gaga says:

      @Lady Gaga YES SO TRUE

  • Plenty says:

    @Plenty of Juniors and seniors (WAAATT) live in doubles. Get out head outta your butt.

  • oh my god says:

    @oh my god this affects, what, 5% of the Columbia population? probably much lower than that when you factor in the juniors and seniors who (most likely) won’t be living in doubles.

    i’m all for this plan, but i think it’s ridiculous that people are making such a big deal about it, especially when it affects so few people.

    1. question says:

      @question So, at what point is an issue that affects a minority of a population considered pertinent? 10% ? 25%? 49%?

      Just because it’s small does not mean it shouldn’t be taken seriously.

    2. wow. says:

      @wow. Based on this argument, it’s ridiculous that we would want anything that would help, say, black students because any policy or program directed at them would only be relevant to a small portion of the population.

      Either way, you’re not making a point, since the doesn’t affect only the non-straight population (which would be closer to 15~20% anyways) but their friends that have ever considered living with them. At a school like Columbia, I’d bring that percentage much closer to 50%.

      Sorry to break it to you, but we actually don’t live in a world where men only like women (and vice versa), and, the truth is, we never have.

    3. That was says:

      @That was one of the most ignorant postings I’ve ever read on Bwog. And I’ve seen a lot here….

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