Yale students have responded favorably to the new housing rule that will allow undergraduates to live in mixed-gender bedrooms and suites.
On Feb. 15, Dean of Student Affairs Camille Lizárribar sent an email to Yale College announcing the alteration of current mixed-gender housing rules: starting next year, rising sophomores, juniors and seniors can live in co-ed rooms. The decision came in response to last year’s report from the Yale College Council LGBTQ Task Force. Students told the News they feel a new sense of freedom in their housing options now that the single-gender room restriction has been lifted.
This sense of freedom among students was interwoven with a sense that University residential policies are becoming more inclusive toward all sexual and gender identities.
“Though the co-ed room option hasn’t changed my plan for next year, I think it’s definitely had an impact on the greater Yale community in terms of housing flexibility,” said Hale Jaeger ’20, a Morse housing representative. “I also imagine it’s made it simpler for nonbinary, transgender or gender-fluid students to find roommates without having to worry about how to report their intended living situations to Yale.”
The creation of Benjamin Franklin and Murray Colleges has also opened up the options for housing next year. Students can now select their roommates from a larger group of male and female students, and can also opt to live in an entirely new college community in the fall.
Though the announcement did not affect Tommy Liao’s ’18 decision to move off campus next year, Liao said the new rules may usher in a new kind of suite dynamics among the broader Yale population, with males and females living in the same room. However, he noted that the rules may not have a sweeping impact because many upperclassmen prefer single rooms over doubles.
Jaeger said the two new colleges altered his housing decision process because it narrowed the number of people he had to organize into suits as a housing representative, and because it lessened the flow of transfer students into Morse College.
However, Onyx Brunner ’20, another Morse housing representative, said that the new colleges have made it difficult for students to find suitemates when their friends want to transfer to Murray or Franklin but they want to remain in their current college. He added that the new colleges have created a surge in transfer numbers out of all 12 existing colleges, which has given the remaining students even more housing choice.
The Feb. 15 announcement came as a surprise to the dozen students interviewed. Many said the announcement immediately flooded them with thoughts of how their housing plans might change under the new rules. And some students noted that the change was much needed, given that the prohibition on co-ed rooms may have originated in the early years of Yale’s shift to coeducation.
“I feel a lot of my close friends are females, so it always made a lot of sense to be in suite with girls,” said Walter Thulin ’20, who plans to room in an all-female suite next year. “I grew up in a female household, so it never made sense to me to not live with females after growing up.”
Thulin added that the room as a space shouldn’t be segregated so long as both parties are comfortable.
Brunner said he understood the single-gender room rule existed as a vestige of the rules implemented in the late ’60s, when Yale first admitted women. He added that the change signals a general shift in University policy toward becoming a more inclusive and diverse campus.
Freshmen rooms will remain single-sex under the new rules.