Sponsored Program: The Status of Gender-Neutral Housing

The Commission for Housing and Residential Life will be highlighting our six sponsored programs over the next few weeks in preparation for convention in Tampa. The second program to be highlighted is:

The Status of Gender-Neutral Housing: Findings from a National Study

Deborah Taub, Professor of Higher Education at the University of North Caroline Greensboro had this to say about what led her and her co-presenter, Brad Johnson, to study gender-neutral housing.

From “Co-ed Dorms” to Gender-Neutral Housing

 In Tampa at #ACPA15 my colleague Brad Johnson and I will be presenting the results of our national study of the status of gender-neutral housing on college and university campuses. We are delighted to have this opportunity and with the co-sponsorship of CHRL and SCLGBTA of our program. In this blog post I thought I’d share with you how I got interested in conducting this study.

I am a proud alum of Oberlin College. Oberlin gained national notoriety when it was featured in a November 20, 1970 cover story in Life magazine: “Co-ed Dorms: An Intimate Campus Revolution.” Although the tone of the article is quite positive, it is clear that, in 1970, this was a revolutionary move.

*** See http://oberlin.edu/175/didyouknow-coed.html or http://life.time.com/culture/oberlin-when-coed-dorms-were-new-1970/?iid=lb-gal-viewagn#1

However, by 1978, the percentage of colleges offering coed housing had reached 85% (DeCoster, 1979). Today, over 90% of students who live in college housing live in coeducational housing (Willoughby, Carroll, Marshall, & Clark, 2009). The present ubiquity of coed housing and the widespread acceptance of it made me wonder whether a college housing arrangement seen today as revolutionary – gender-neutral housing – might similarly grow to be widely practiced and accepted.

Inspired by DeCoster’s (1979) study of the growth of coeducational housing, I invited colleagues Brad Johnson and Torry Reynolds to join me in a study that essentially would take a snapshot of where the practice of gender-neutral housing is today. The idea is to follow-up periodically to track the growth of gender-neutral housing.

We will be presenting that first snapshot at #ACPA15.


DeCoster, D. A. (1979). Coeducational housing in colleges and universities: 1967 to 1978. Journal of College and University Student Housing, 9, 6-9.

Willoughby, B. J., Carroll, J. S., Marshall, W. J., & Clark, C. (2009). The decline of in loco parentis and the shift to coed housing on college campuses. Journal of Adolescent Research, 24, 21-36. doi: 10.1177/0743558408326914

The Status of Gender-Neutral Housing: Findings from a National Study

Co-sponsored by the Commission for Housing and Residential Life and the Standing Committee for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Awareness

Abstract: How widespread is the practice of gender-neutral housing (GNH) and how is it being implemented? What barriers to establishing GNH have campuses encountered? What GNH policies have been developed? Presenters will share the results and implications of a national study of GNH at ACUHO-I member institutions.

Deborah Taub

Coordinating Presenter

Deborah Taub, Ph.D.
University of North Carolina Greensboro
Professor of Higher Education

Put it on your convention calendar!
Sunday, March 8, 2015
8:00 AM – 9:00 AM
Marriott Tampa Waterside, Meeting Room 11


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