Media outlets have latched onto the image of Columbia students who will "live in sin on their parents' dime," (or so said a New York Post article from Sunday), but council representatives say the intent behind possibly making rooms co-ed has been lost. The objective of the proposal is to allow students the freedom to live with those they feel most comfortable with, a fact which has been absent from recent media coverage, members say. Students would be given the option to live with same-sex roommates as sophomores, juniors, and seniors if the proposal is given the green-light by administrators. Sarah Weiss, CC '10 and CCSC vice president of policy, claims that the recent article published in the New York Post missed the mark on its analysis of the gender-neutral housing proposal. Weiss emphasizes the fact that the proposal is "about giving students the opportunity to live with whomever they feel comfortable. without gender binaries of being male and female." The proposal is meant to accommodate LGBT students, transgender students, and students in general, a central tenet that's been conspicuously absent from recent reports on the proposed policy. Sunday's New York Post article makes much ado of college-aged couples sharing a dorm room, but Weiss notes, "LGBT, trans-, and students in general—none of those were talked about—it only talked about couples. This is a discussion of students feeling comfortable about who they live with." CCSC President Sue Yang, CC '10 also lamented the fact that the aim of the resolution, outlined in the proposal itself and provided to the Post, was largely ignored. "[The article] didn't address that we're doing it because we're in an age where the traditional viewpoint that students want to room with students of the same gender used to be the norm. But is that the case now? A growing number would say 'No.' They're comfortable with living with another sex." Gender-neutral housing, a policy extant at other Ivy League universities like Princeton and Dartmouth, was proposed by students and fielded by student council. The proposal currently is in the hands of upper-level administrators Deans Kevin Shollenberger, Michele Moody-Adams, and Feniosky Pena-Mora. Though it's well supported by the student body, whether or not the proposal will come to fruition is to be determined by the administration in the weeks to come. The council also said they considered the experience an opportunity to learn how to handle the media, citing the importance of proceeding carefully when discussing policy decisions with media outlets. The council fears that because the resolution hasn't passed yet, current coverage like the New York Post article could be used against the resolution when administrators deliberate it. Weiss claims the quote from her printed in the New York Post was taken out of context. CCSC member Alex Frouman, CC'12, alleges that the author poorly paraphrased what he said and printed it as a direct quote.
Columbia Spectator Staff