Duluth, MN — UMD’s leadership team has approved a plan to offer gender inclusive housing beginning in the fall of 2015, placing it among the first wave of universities in the state to do so.
Students will be able to select apartments in which their roommates can be any combination of genders. This supports ‘goal two’ of UMD’s strategic plan: creating an inclusive campus climate. “We’re creating just that for many students who may have felt that they didn’t have a safe place to live in our community,” says Jeremy Leiferman, director of Housing and Residence Life. “Creating housing that’s inclusive of all students is an important step in this process.”
Leiferman led a working group that drafted a plan to transform UMD’s five on-campus apartment buildings into gender inclusive housing. The group sought input from members of the Queer & Allied Student Union and the UMD GLBT Commission, who stressed the importance of removing the gender barrier for transgender students.
Jacob Froelich is the president of the Student Association and part of Leiferman’s working group. He believes the feedback they received is indicative of this being the right time and the right place, “I’m really appreciative of all the support that we’ve gotten on campus and from the Student Association, the voice of the students. They voted strongly in favor of approving the policy. This is the kind of university that I can be proud of.”
Leiferman says that students would have to select the gender inclusive housing option and wouldn’t be assigned to it if they didn’t select it. He stresses that this won’t take away options from students, calling it another choice.