NYU to revamp housing in the fall

February 7, 2013

Freshman living in NYU housing next semester will experience some drastic policy changes.

First posted on NYU Local, starting in fall 2013, roommate requests will be a thing of the past, as the Office of Residential Life and Housing Services opted to focus on fostering interaction among the university’s diverse student body.

Vice president of Student Affairs Marc Wais said encountering diversity should be the key focus of all students’ college experience.

“A key experience of a college education is the opportunity to live and study with people from diverse backgrounds,” Wais said in an announcement on NYU’s website. “This is uniquely true at NYU, where students are prepared to enter an increasingly global society by studying at campuses throughout the world.”

Starting with the class of 2017, geographic diversity will be a variable when determining roommate assignments, although freshmen can still make certain housing requests such as low-cost housing and placement on exploration floors.

Emory Parker, a senior at Manhasset High School, applied to the Tisch School of the Arts and welcomes the housing changes.

“It’s good that they don’t let you choose your roommate because [students] get to meet new people that way,” Parker said.

NYU Residential Life plans to implement gender-neutral housing this fall for upperclassmen only. This choice will allow students to share rooms with individuals of the opposite sex.

This policy change is the result of a student-led initiative that began in 2011 called the Gender-Neutral Housing Coalition.

“I am intensely excited to see this policy change happen,” GNH co-founder CAS junior Doug Keeler said. “This is a major step forward in reshaping NYU into an institution not simply tolerant of, but accessible to, a diversely queer and/or transgender student population.”

Keeler no longer lives on campus,  but other students are equally excited to take advantage of the option.

“As someone who typically gets along better with guys rather than girls, it will be nice to have the option to live in a suite with a mixed group of people,” said Gallatin freshman Kendall Hill.

With an opportunity for truly co-ed dorm rooms, there may be concern about students rooming with their significant others and then having a bad end to the relationships.

A Rubin RA who wished to remain anonymous due to university policy said the problem already exists.

“We have a large enough homosexual community in NYU that they could [room with their significant other] already,” she said. “I think it’s important that NYU makes it clear that we really are not advising people that are in a romantic relationship together to room,” she said.

NYU sociology professor Paula England, who has researched hookup culture, agreed with the RA.

“[There is] plenty [of] opportunity for that anyhow,” England said.

The Gender-Neutral Housing Coalition is working on expanding the gender-neutral housing option to first-year students in light of the aforementioned changes.

Deborah Lubanga is a contributing writer. Email her at university@nyunews.com.

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