Gender-neutral housing options will not be available for the 2009-’10 housing cycle, Yale College Dean Mary Miller announced in a statement today.
Instead, a task force will be formed by Associate Deans Marichal Gentry and John Meeske to explore such options further.
An ad hoc committee of administrators, formed in January 2008, recently recommended that Yale allow gender-neutral housing options for juniors and seniors. The Council of Masters endorsed the recommendations in February 2009. But the Officers of the University requested that additional data be gathered on the successes of these policies at peer institutions.
Gender-neutral housing may be especially challenging at Yale, the announcement said, given the residential college system. While other institutions may allow the option of mixed-gender dormitory floors or entryways, this would not be possible at Yale. Instead, the change would have to be implemented throughout the entire college.
“Without more detailed knowledge of how mixed gender housing has worked on a small scale elsewhere,” the announcement said, “the Officers are concerned that a system-wide change at Yale would be premature.”
The housing system at Harvard University presents similar complications. Harvard instituted a policy in 2007 that allowed transgender students to apply for gender-neutral housing on a case-by-case basis, thus avoiding the universal changed proposed by Yale’s committee.