On Friday, August 9, the University of North Carolina's Board of Governors will vote on a policy that would ban gender-neutral housing at all seventeen UNC campuses, and threaten the safety and well-being of LGBT students living there. This policy was previously approved by a "Governance Committee" and is moving on to a final vote before the full board.
This rash opposition to gender-neutral housing is not only harmful to trans students, it also out of touch with the growing number of schools who recognize that gender identity protections are critical. According to Campus Pride, more than 100 colleges have adopted gender neutral housing, and over 600 colleges – including several UNC schools – have added gender identity to their non-discrimination policies.
At UNC Charlotte, student Anthony Dondero and other members of the trans and gender non-conforming student group, Trans*Port, have been rallying support for gender-neutral housing on campus for over two years, and have received backing from the student government, faculty and administrators. Despite these efforts, students have been refused space on the speaking agenda of the upcoming Board of Governors' meeting, which is open to the public and being held before the start of the semester.
"Gender-neutral housing would make it possible for LGBT students to have a safer place to lay their head down at night – a basic need that the UNC system should meet," said Anthony Dondero, president of the UNC Charlotte student group Trans*Port.
“Banning gender-inclusive housing on the seventeen UNC system campuses does not serve the safety of any student. It is dangerous and reckless to take such a broad sweeping action," said Shane Windmeyer, Executive Director of Campus Pride. "Research shows that LGBT students experience heightened rates of harassment and discrimination at our colleges and universities, including in campus housing. Students should not have to feel unsafe or be fearful where they eat, sleep, and live on campus.”
UNC students are working with Campus Pride to raise awareness about this proposed anti-LGBT policy, and will gather with community members at the Board of Governors meeting to take a stand for student safety and fairness on UNC's campuses. Take action by attending the UNC Board of Governors' meeting on Friday, August 9, and help spread the word. Find out more about the policy and how to take action here.