Gender-neutral housing pilot passes

Borrowing a shirt or a pair of jeans from your roommate may soon become a less innocuous proposition. Last week, Carnegie Mellon approved student body President Karl Sjogren and Vice-President Andrea Hamilton’s proposed gender-neutral housing pilot study. The study will reserve Shady Oak Apartments for students who wish to live with a roommate of the opposite sex.

The option will be available for current students participating in Room Draw this semster. During Room Draw, students interested in participating in the pilot study will be given the opportunity to select “male,” “female,” or “no preference” when requesting their roommate for next semester. Students can also request to be “pulled in” to an apartment by a member of the opposite sex or decide to room with a specific person of the opposite sex prior to selecting a living space, according to (

The study allows students who want to live with someone of the opposite sex to do so while staying in the campus housing system, rather than being forced to move off campus. Each Shady Oak apartment contains one or two bedrooms and a private bathroom. While the apartments will be initially reserved for students in the pilot study, those apartments that are not filled by students participating in the study will be made available to students who want traditional housing arrangements.

Incoming first-year students cannot request to participate in the study. If a first-year student is placed in gender-neutral housing, his or her family must be informed before the student is allowed to move in, according to the terms of the proposal.

The university has been considering the idea for a number of years but decided to implement the study only after Sjogren and Hamilton presented their formal proposal for such a system.

The purpose of the pilot study is to explore whether or not Carnegie Mellon is capable of sustaining mixed-gender living in campus housing, other than the limited co-ed arrangements currently available in special-interest housing.

The proposed study has been met with varied levels of support on campus. In interviews conducted by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, students’ responses ranged from doubts about residents’ maturity to claims that co-ed living is good preparation for life after college.
Carnegie Mellon will join approximately 30 other colleges and universities nationwide that currently offer mixed-gender housing options.