Gender-neutral housing approved for class of 2011

Students in the class of 2011 will have the option of living in mixed-gender suites next year as part of a pilot program, Yale College Dean Mary Miller and Council of Masters Chair Jonathan Holloway said Sunday evening in an e-mail to the News.

Rising seniors may choose to live in mixed-gender suites but not mixed-gender bedrooms, Miller and Holloway wrote, and no student will be forced to live in a mixed-gender suite. Students in romantic relationships are discouraged from rooming together in this configuration.

Yalies gather on Cross Campus for a “sleep-in” in March 2009 to protest the delay of the University’s decision on gender-neutral housing.
Charlie Croom
Yalies gather on Cross Campus for a “sleep-in” in March 2009 to protest the delay of the University’s decision on gender-neutral housing.

Miller and Holloway said the gender-neutral option will be available to students in the rooming draw set to begin after spring break.

“This new housing policy will be evaluated during its first year; a committee of masters and deans will report to the YCDO, Council of Masters, and University Officers in January 2011,” Miller and Holloway wrote.

The decision comes after “extensive information gathering from sister institutions, masters and deans, as well as various student groups on campus, and in the context of thoughtful consideration of the potential impact of such policies on Yale’s residential college housing system,” Miller and Holloway wrote.

A proposal that would have allowed a gender-neutral housing option for juniors and seniors in the current academic year was tabled last spring in order to give administrators more time to study the issue, Miller said at the time.

All other Ivy League schools already have a gender-neutral housing option.

Previous coverage of this story:

  • “After Princeton, Yale is last Ivy without gender-neutral housing,” Oct. 20, 2009
  • “Gender neutral housing on hold,” Mar. 3, 2009
  • Comments

    • classic

      Classic Jon Wu… sending out an email under your name?

      Rich Tao is responsible for this happening, not you, Jon Wu.

    • y ’10

      Too bad I’ll never get to take advantage of it, but yay!

    • Y10

      Ditto to #1. Stop gloating, Jon. You did nothing to make this happen. It is Rich who deserves our thanks, no question about it.

    • Lisa

      Well, its fine if you like the smell of stinky gym socks. Personally, I’d rather be smelling perfume. But its a choice and that’s good.

    • Good News

      I know I’m bad, but I hope hilarity ensues.

    • 2011

      this is fantastic! a little belated, but so necessary. thanks to all who helped make it happen!

    • Sorry…

      …but YCC doesn’t deserve much credit for this.

    • FailBoat

      Nothing good can come of this.

      But I agree. Rich Tao deserves the credit for making this happen.

    • Wilde

      @Lisa- and girls can’t have stinky gym socks? and there are plenty of us boys who smell like perfume from time to time, too. :P

    • YLS’12

      That is great for rising seniors, but what about rising frosh, sophomores, and juniors for whom gender-neutral housing is important? Transgender students aren’t only trans as rising seniors only.

    • wow

      Jon Wu… Rich Tao never sent out with his personal email address… sure there are mistakes with email accounts being randomly open…. but really… a president should be more careful.

    • ycc-er

      To #1 and #3, I think you should try to be more informed before you criticize others. Even though past years yccs (Rich Tao’s but also before that too) put a lot of effort into promoting gender-neutral housing and definitely deserve credit for that, this policy wouldn’t have been put into place without the extensive follow through and further work done by this year’s ycc, especially the really important work by Jon Wu with important administrators influential in making the final decision. Look at the email for the specific details and you’ll see how much continued work was put into the project this year to build off of past YCC’s efforts.

      So #3, I’m going to thank Rich Tao AND Jon Wu, and I suggest you do the same.

    • Recent Alum

      Incredibly, this is not even the worst development at Yale over the last week. One would have thought that with the downward trend in Yale’s yield and alumni donations, the administration would have got the message.

    • had to live alone because friends all male


      You’re so right. But it’s a pilot program. Mixed-gender housing is harder at Yale because of the residential college system, given the commitment not to impose it on those who don’t want to participate. I, for one, am happy to see even this baby step in the right direction.

      My biggest hope now is that if any hiccups happen during the transition (as inevitably do during any change), that the administration will continue efforts to find ways to work around them, rather then leaping back as if burnt.

    • @YLS12

      fourth graf. RTFS.

      “‘This new housing policy will be evaluated during its first year; a committee of masters and deans will report to the YCDO, Council of Masters, and University Officers in January 2011,’ Miller and Holloway wrote.”

    • CCH57

      When I entered Hampshire College nearly all housing was gender-neutral (of course we didn’t call it that; we called it normal), a mere 36 years ago. Hello, Yale? In which century do you reside?

    • Tao Forever!

      Tao Rocks, Wu may yet too. However, lest we follow in the trend of the federal govt. Let’s not focus on doling out credit (or blame if this turns out to be bad) but rather that the YCC actually helped get something major done.

    • Y’09

      Hooray; finally Yale gets on board!

      Finally after graduation I (a male) am living with two of my female friends; it’s a shame the option wasn’t available to me while I was still a student. (Though, of course, I realize that my own concerns of wanting to live with my best friends are petty compared to a trans person’s need to live with people of the sex and gender they choose.)

      I’m glad that Yale is finally starting to make this move, and I hope everything works out!

    • Yale 08

      With this action, I’m looking forward to hearing about some massive repeat times 100 of that Calhoun shower incident from three years ago:

      From: Jonathan Holloway
      To: All Calhoun Students
      Sent: Tuesday, January 30, 2007 9:10 AM
      Subject: Showers Stalls are for Showering

      OK, well THIS is the most awkward college-wide e-mail I’ve ever had to send….

      The college showers are to be used by individuals for hygenic purposes only. They are not to be used by couples engaged in intimate activity–especially that kind of activity that leaves the showers in a decidedly less hygenic state.

      Several times since the start of the spring term some Hounies have come across a couple having the time of their lives in a shower stall. Last night the shower flooded and the bathroom could not be used for over 90 minutes. To the as yet unidentified couple, this may be pleasureable and exciting for you but it is a violation of community standards. Please stop.

      I really don’t want to explore this matter any further as I respect your individual privacy. But such continued brazen public displays of affection will only invite public embarrassment. I beg of you, let’s not go there.


    • cmon guys

      Tao brought the systematic approach that really made the admin take the YCC more seriously. Jon used that system and it worked, but both deserve very different types of praise. I favor Tao’s work.

    • @19

      I doubt that mixed sex housing will affect the amount of shower sex that happens… the bathrooms are already mixed sex anyway. And I’m glad that there was a warning in the email that living with a boyfriend/girlfriend is a profoundly stupid idea… because it is a profoundly stupid idea.

      I’m glad this finally happened… it’s long overdue. It’s not just for a niche group of students, but for anyone who wants to live with people of the opposite sex.

    • Yale ’11

      #16, I am SO with you. Yay for this finally happening!

    • y’10

      to the extent that the YCC deserves credit for this, it should be Rich — certainly not Jon. however, rich had his own email faux pas. while we’re revisiting emails from the past, we should not forget his accidental election night message to the entire school:

      From: Rich Tao
      To: ycc0809
      Sent: Tuesday, Nov 4, 2008 at 11:18 PM
      Subject: yes!

      F**king amazing. [censored for the purposes of this forum]

      Just saw Brian on TV, by the way!


    • anon

      Are there really this many comments about which YCC President deserves more credit for this decision, as though that’s the relevant part of this story?

    • Yale 08

      Living with a boyfriend/girlfriend before marriage is profoundly stupid in any context, not just at Yale.

    • CC’09 @#19

      You don’t even know for sure that the shower-sexers of Dr. J’s email were a straight couple…

    • @25

      “Living with a boyfriend/girlfriend before marriage is profoundly stupid in any context, not just at Yale.”

      Really. Good to know that marriage makes things magically so much better; maybe after the wedding my fiancee and I will finally stop arguing about taking the trash out.

    • Yale 08


      The divorce rates are on MY side. But good luck!

    • wrong century

      Yale08, I’m pretty sure they didn’t have the internet in 1908, so how are you posting?

    • saybrook997

      Gender-neutral housing has nothing to do with sex before marriage, shower sex or transgender students.

      1. How many transgender Yale students are there–4 or 2? This policy is not for that.

      2. Sex in a shower just requires a shower, and not even a partner. Entry way floors are already co-ed, and dealing with girls in the bathroom is a pain. I’m always afraid of embarrassing them, or myself. Girls have said that as soon as guys move in for the year, the bathroom looks and smells like the circus has come through. Mixed rooms just make for more mixed bathrooms than sleep overs and mixed floors do.

      3. It’s not sex before marriage. It’s sex without marriage. Temp. “Yale marriages” almost always end at graduation, girls. No engagement, no marriage, if you want one. It may be convenient, especially for senioritis, to have a definite companion for weekends and parties, and sex without having to leave for your room, ever.

      How many Yale graduates or “Yale marriages” get married by the 5th or 10th reunion? I’ve heard about 60 students per class. Not many for 1,320 students per class, and the ones I’ve known to get engaged or married did not live together. The alumni office would know. (The good news is that real Yale marriages tend to last for some reason, and they become the most dependable alumni supporters of Yale, which I can understand–Yale is part of their romance.)

      Gender neutral housing is about living together–Yale says those “in romantic relationships are discouraged.” Isolating yourself from other inter-personal relationships might be all right for seniors, who have had three years before. But from what I’ve seen, it is an unmaturing, regressive relationship that precedes only graduation, not marriage. In how many marriages do you not have to cook meals, clean bathrooms or really even the suite?
      Just do laundry, sex and put up with the other for a full year–really, for 6 months, after fall, Christmas, spring and summer breaks? It’s not preparation for anything but graduation usually. And those with “Yale divorces” often cut off Yale and most Yale friends, at least the ones I have known to “divorce” after a “Yale marriage” and later graduate. Living together “marriages” will make it worse.

      Yale administrators will have fun when the break-ups happen, and new room assignments are demanded. Seniors will put up and put out with each other until the year’s over, but soph. and juniors will not.

      Living together might work for seniors, but it can’t be limited to them. If it could be, I might withhold judgment. With all the other problems that brilliant Yale admin. faces, how stupid can you be? This does not end the world, but I’ve got to agree with the comment that no good will come of this.

    • petro

      This will just cause more rape because that’s all that men know how to do.Then again,no real man would ever go to Yale in the first place.

    • 27

      Yale08, you seem to have missed my point, or something.

      Unless you think that marriage magically changes one’s relationship for the better (which I was contesting as #27, and which I gather you DON’T think), what reason do you have for saying that “living together is profoundly stupid BEFORE marriage”? Perhaps you think that living with a significant other is /always/ profoundly stupid?

    • @ 25/Yale08

      The divorce rates are not at all on your side, that is merely correlative not causative. People who tend to choose not to live together before marriage tend to choose not to get divorced. One does not cause the other. In fact I would suggest that all else being equal, living together allows a couple to test a relationship in close proximity before making a legal commitment like marriage – so while it probably isn’t good while you are at college and have nowhere else to go if you break up, there is nothing wrong with it.

      Moreover, to those complaining about this change, it is a choice. Anyone who suffers negatively from it does so by choice, and it really has no huge impact on sex at Yale as long as people are reasonable about it.

    • yes

      thank you, #33. Yale 08 you should probably read #33’s comment closely and think about your flawed logic (i.e. these days, the confounding variable is likely that people who are more religious do not live together before marriage, and that demographic is the type to not get divorced. that’s totally fine, utmost respect to that, but it doesn’t reveal anything about the causality of not living together beforehand and then having a better marriage)

    • hah

      You must not be familiar with Mr. Yale 08 if you think he’s going to read anything closely