RALEIGH, NC (NEWS RELEASE) — The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Board of Trustees adopted a policy in 2012 that would allow students of the opposite sex to live together in dorm suites and campus apartments at their own discretion. Under the new policy, male and female students will be allowed to share bathrooms and common living areas in campus housing suites and apartments, starting in the fall of 2013.
Senate Bill 658, “UNC Dormitory Rules” introduced by Sen. David Curtis (R-Lincoln), Sen. Ben Clarke (D-Cumberland) and Sen. Chad Barefoot (R-Wake) will put an end to that policy. The bill states that the University of North Carolina shall prohibit the assignment of members of the opposite sex to the same room, suite or apartment, unless they are siblings or legally married.
“The purpose of this bill is to help the UNC system regain its focus on the core mission of educating young people and helping them find meaningful employment in our state,” said Curtis, the bill’s primary sponsor. “UNC did not become a national leader in academics by wasting time and tax dollars on frivolous social experiments.”
Correspondence with University officials confirms the program is open to all students ages 18 and older, and students under 18 with parental permission. The new policy also breaks the longstanding tradition of ensuring first-year students are assigned to the same housing as their peers, stating it may be necessary to assign first-year students with juniors or seniors instead.
“North Carolina has great universities because we remain committed to pursuing cutting-edge research, upholding high academic standards, and achieving excellence in the classroom,” said Barefoot. “I don’t understand how a policy that allows a first-year female student, three months out of high school, to share a private bathroom with an upper-class male will help us achieve that goal.”
When approached with the idea in late 2011, Chancellor Thorpe admitted the issue would be controversial to external stakeholders including parents and alumni who send their children to UNC and the taxpayers who help subsidize their tuition, and directed Winston Crisp, vice-chancellor for student affairs, to review and strengthen the education that UNC provided its students about sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, as it relates to student housing.
“We understand that times change,” said Clark. “But the fundamental, core values that are woven into the social fabric of our community are eternal and unwavering. UNC must respect these values in the establishment and application of its policies as it continues its quest to remain in the top tier of the nation’s public institutions of higher learning.”