By L.A. Williams, Correspondent
Christian Action League
August 12, 2013
CHAPEL HILL — A potentially disastrous policy has been averted at the state’s colleges as the University of North Carolina Board of Governors voted Aug. 9 to close the door on gender-neutral housing plans like the one set to begin later this month at UNC-Chapel Hill.
“Praise the Lord as students start moving back to campus this weekend (Aug. 17), they will be moving to gender-specific housing, unless they are married or siblings,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League. “We’re glad to see the Board of Governors didn’t acquiesce to the LGBTQ crowd on this issue.”
The Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual Transgender or Queer Center had led the push to allow for individuals of “any sexual orientation, gender expression and gender identity” to live together in UNC’s residence halls. They said allowing students to choose whom to live with would help prevent harassment or bullying of LGBTQ students. But Peter Hans, chairman of the Board of Governors, said there are more “practical accommodations” that can be made to ensure student safety.
“He’s exactly right. If someone is being threatened for whatever reason, that individual incident can be dealt with without creating a blanket policy that would allow unmarried couples to cohabitate and give special privileges to students based on their sexual behaviors,” said Dr. Creech.
Tami Fitzgerald, director of the North Carolina Values Coalition, said the Board of Governors’ decision brings “leadership and sanity to the university housing environment.”
“With this uniform policy, our public universities and colleges can get back to the business of educating our students and preparing them to be productive members of society instead of promoting co-habitation among students of the opposite sex,” she said in a statement.
Former UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp had initially rejected the push for gender neutral housing, but then in November of last year had endorsed the plan, which won approval from UNC trustees. According to WRAL, at least four students had signed up for the program and will now have to be reassigned.
In response to UNC’s policy, three Tar Heel senators introduced legislation in the spring (S-658) that would force the university to prohibit opposite sex roommates, suite mates or apartment mates unless they are siblings or husband and wife. Although the bill did not advance, the Board of Governors’ ruling uses similar language.
The NC Values Coalition called on its supporters last week to lobby the Board to outlaw the gender neutral policy and prevent other universities in the system from setting up similar housing options.
“Pretending that gender can be neutralized in such a way as to allow students of the opposite sex to share intimate living spaces without consequence is foolish and dangerous,” the organization wrote in e-mails to the board.
According to media reports, Duke University, Warren Wilson College and Guilford College, which are all private, are the only universities in the state that have gender-neutral housing.