Ferris considers gender neutral housing

Ferris Office of Housing and Residential Life moves to implement gender-inclusive housing for the 2020 - 21 academic year

Ferris is looking to allow gender inclusive housing starting in the next academic year.

Western Michigan University, University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Grand Valley State University, Central Michigan University and more have gender inclusive housing programs, with Ferris being one of the last universities in the state yet to implement such a program. Gender inclusive housing allows residents to choose whether they want to remain in same sex housing or if they would be open to housing with those who do not identify as the same gender. Ferris may not be behind for too much longer, though.

“The current tentative plan is to offer gender inclusive housing for the 2020 – 21 contracting year,” Ferris Director of Housing and Residential Life Bryan Marquardt said. “This contracting sign up period starts October 29, 2019. We are still in the process of working out the details. The current tentative plan is to offer this option in our three types of housing halls, suites, and apartments. The process could be as simple as a question during contracting asking all contract signers if they are interested this type of housing. If the answer is yes, then our staff would contact the individuals.”

This change is not set in stone yet. The Housing Office must go through a process first.

“The university first makes the decision to allow opposite sex housing,” Marquardt said. “Once this happens then housing moves on how do we make this happen in our on campus housing? We are in the process of setting this up and have in place during our early contracting which starts October 29, 2019 Tuesday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. in the UC ballroom. While the wording and process/sign up of this type of housing is still being discussed housing is working to put this in place by October 29, 2019 for the 2020 – 21 contracting year.”

Students seem to be tentatively supportive of this move.

“I believe it’s a pretty progressive answer to the housing concept,” Ferris integrated studies senior Aaron Morrison said. “Plenty of students on campus have been awaiting such an opportunity since I’ve been here. However, when talking about letting different genders housing like that, you’re definitely inviting the chance of gender related issues and offenses going on. I believe it’s a give-and-take circumstance that can only be handled with appropriate guidelines and evaluation.”

Other students also believe the change could be problematic.

“I see how that could be beneficial, but I also see a lot of problems,” Ferris welding technology sophomore Luke Orr said. “I think it would be a fine system because a lot of people have co-ed housing after they move out of the dorms but if you have people that are in relationships that decide to move in together you could see a lot of issues as in they move in, and then the relationship ends.”