My name is Tara Egan, I am a CCE Fellow and last week I attended the first Cafe Conversation of the semester. Adam Gustafson who also happens to be a Fellow organized the first conversation about gender neutral housing at Hofstra. The goal of the conversation was to brainstorm how to get the university to consider a change to the current system for students who are looking for gender inclusive housing. I had the opportunity to interview Adam after the event to learn more about gender inclusive housing and the group’s plans to propose the idea to Hofstra.
Tara: What is Gender Neutral Housing?
Adam: Gender neutral, or gender inclusive, housing is a system in which gender identity, not legal sex, is used to determine housing. This is meant to reduce discomfort for transgender and gender nonconforming students.
Tara: What does Hofstra have now to accommodate trans students or students who are interested in gender neutral housing?
Adam: Hofstra works with students on a case by case basis to find housing to accommodate students. The process is clunky, however, and the best option at present seems to be to have a single in one of the towers. Singles are expensive, however, and many students are therefore forced into doubles or triples with other students who are not the same gender.
Tara: Why is it important to implement something like this at Hofstra?
Adam: This is an important measure to implement because all students at Hofstra are entitled to a comfortable and safe (which includes mental safety) living space.
Tara: What steps are the group’s committees taking to get gender neutral housing at Hofstra?
Adam: Right now, the petition committee is working to write and circulate a petition. Following this, the outreach committee will be reaching out to SGA using examples from other colleges and the support we received from the petition. Throughout this process, the documentary committee will be getting coverage of the major events and conducting interviews. The administration committee will be responsible for discussing this matter with various administrators and coming up with a model that will work for both the students and the administration.
Tara: During the conversation you discussed making this into a multimedia story, can you elaborate a little more about that project?
Adam: The multimedia story is actually about the CCE as a whole, told through the lenses of a few different fellows. For me, we will be focusing on this movement as well as my work with the Long Island Alliance for Peaceful Alternatives. This is still in the preliminary stages, however, so we aren’t clear on exactly what this will entail.
To get involved with the gender inclusive housing movement at Hofstra or the CCE multimedia story email Adam at firstname.lastname@example.org