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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

LGBTQ wing in dorm supported

ASUA voiced support of gender-inclusive housing on Wednesday night.

The Associated Students of the University of Arizona Senate approved Sen. Scott Rising’s resolution in favor of a pilot program to add a proposed 25 spots in gender-inclusive housing as well as a LGBTQ-themed wing at its 5 p.m. weekly meeting in the Student Union Memorial Center.

“”This is an issue that is not just a housing issue. This is an issue that I think is really a campus-wide issue,”” said Jim Van Arsdel, director of UA Residence Life, “”and the thoughtful consideration of a group like this is really important in that whole process.””

“”Really nothing has to change besides the occupants of the room,”” Rising said at the Oct. 20 forum on gender-inclusive housing, where a 30-person group unanimously supported the idea of gender-inclusive housing, akin to other living-learning communities in UA Residence Life.

Gender-inclusive housing would include both biological sex and the gender with which people identify.””Part of the issue is that our current residence hall system is based on a binary gender system that only recognizes male and female,”” said Jennifer Hoefle, program director of LGBTQ Affairs. “”But bodies and identities don’t only fall into those two categories.””

Hoefle felt that those outside of the binary “”are rendered invisible, or are not served, or are forced to live alone or there’s not a place for them to live off campus.””

Heterosexual men and women who are allies could also live in the wing, and could live together in the same room.

Outside of the wing, gender-inclusive housing clusters in other residence halls for transgendered individuals who might not want to live in the wing would also be available.

“”Not all LGBTQ people are looking for this option, but having it … and recognizing that there should be a safe space to live is a step forward,”” said Jai Smith, student co-director of ASUA Pride Alliance. “”This isn’t something that is going to be a replacement for diversity initiatives within Residence Life.””

He added that, “”there isn’t a reason that LGBTQ people should have to be a spokesperson for their community every day.””

Students would be eligible for the housing option on a first come, first serve basis.

Feelings of self-segregation and a “”step backward”” came up in Sen. Jeff Adams’ conversations with students, he said.

The allied inclusion in the housing remained Sen. Dominick San Angelo’s crucial factor in supporting the initiative, going against the separation and segregation concerns that came up with students.

“”By allowing allies to live in that wing as well, then you change it from kind of a more demographic type classification, to more of a community of like-minded individuals,”” San Angelo said.

Adams was the only dissenting vote in the decision to pass the resolution.

A small part of the meeting also went to new programs on campus and club funding.

Scholarship Universe, a new program presented to the senate delivered a new system that shows students their eligibility for scholarships through their UA NetID, according to Rebekah H. Salcedo, student scholarship services coordinator at the UA Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid.

Glitches in the student services fee-funded system have made preprogrammed information a problem for student employees in the system but since its opening Nov. 1, more than 160 students have accessed Scholarship Universe successfully.

The Women’s Resource Center did not present to the senate as scheduled. The senate also approved all portions of the funding allocated by the appropriations board to clubs on Monday.

 

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