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WSA: Gender Neutral Housing Poll and Results

October 21, 2004

In response to policy changes enacted over the summer, the Wesleyan Student Assembly voted to administer an online poll to solicit student opinion on the Gender Neutral Housing Situation at Wesleyan.

The poll was administered online and publicized through numerous on campus forums from October 12 thru October 21. It was open for all current students to participate in. A brief background regarding the Universal Gender Neutral Policy was presented on the poll site[1], followed by the three responses for voters to choose. The three possible responses (plus a fourth option of writing in a response) were 1) I support the implementation of the universal gender neutral housing policy at Wesleyan; 2) I do not support the implementation of the universal gender neutral housing policy at Wesleyan and; 3) Abstain.

The findings from the poll are graphed below with no greater than a 1.6 margin of error taken into account.

 

Most notably, this poll had 1,170 students voting, the largest voter turnout in the traceable history of the Wesleyan Student Assembly.

The results also indicate an extremely strong preference the current student body holds for offering the Universal Gender Neutral Housing Policy to all Wesleyan Students, regardless of their class year. 92% of the voters responded that they supported the implementation of the Gender Neutral policy as it was approved by the Office of Residential Life and Undergraduate Residential Life Committee.

The Wesleyan Student Assembly unanimously passed a resolution in support of implementation of the policy as it was approved last spring. As such, the results of this poll indicate the continued commitment the WSA will showcase in representing student concerns, those concerns being the need for all students to have the opportunity to live in gender neutral housing, as described by the approved policy, Spring, 2004.

Respectfully submitted,
Executive Committee
Wesleyan Student Assembly 


[1] The Background: Wesleyan University's nondiscrimination policy includes protection on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. The current housing policy for all sophomores, juniors, and seniors allows for students who do not share the same biological sex to be roommates, including upper class students living in first-year housing areas. | Because studentsí biological sexes are not necessarily indicative of their gender identities, a gender neutral housing policy intends to create a safe and supportive residential community by assigning roommates without regards to biological sex for any and all students who request the gender neutral housing option. | The Universal Gender Neutral housing option which was approved, with feedback from the Queer Task Force, by the 2004 Undergraduate Residential Life Committee and implemented by the Office of Residential Life in the summer of 2004, is as follows: The Housing Option: Wesleyan's non-discrimination statement was amended in 2003 to include "gender identity and expression." As a result of this change, and to accommodate students whose gender identification and/or gender expression may vary from the standard paradigm, the Office of Residential Life offers "gender neutral" room assignments in first-year housing (after the first year, students select their own housing assignment). | While historically first-year assignments have been made such that a biologically male student receives a biologically male roommate and a biologically female student receives a biologically female roommate, the gender neutral policy allows any student who requests a gender neutral assignment to receive a roommate who also requested a gender neutral assignment. All students who request a gender neutral assignment, and only those who do, will be assigned roommates without regard to biological sex and housed in any of the first-year residential living units. Students who do not request a gender neutral housing assignment will be placed with a roommate of the same biological sex, as was done in the past, and housed in any of the first-year residential living units.

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