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BU committee to reconsider gender-neutral housing Friday

After administrators announced the gender-neutral housing initiative had been suspended in December, Boston University’s Committee on Student Life and Policies has since begun to assess the proposal and will meet with Student Government officials this week, officials said.

“It [the gender-neutral housing initiative] is currently under active consideration in the hands of the committee of the university council,” said BU spokesman Colin Riley. “After they have reviewed the policy proposal they will ask Student Government for their input.”

No final decisions have yet been made, but the committee will consult SG after they review the newest proposal.

A meeting between the committee and SG officials is set for Friday, said SG Director of Advocacy Saurabh Mahajan.

SG President Aditya Rudra, a School of Management junior, and Executive Vice President Lauren LeVelle, also an SMG junior, will attend the meeting.

“The Committee on Student Life and Policies is where the issue of GNH now resides — they are tasked with exploring the issue, then making a recommendation,” Mahajan, a College of Arts and Sciences freshman, said.

SG will represent the student voice in the meeting, Mahajan said.

“They will be advocating a student focus for gender-neutral housing and give arguments in favor of it,” Mahajan said. “This is definitely a positive step forward to making gender-neutral housing a part of our community.”

Riley said BU President Robert Brown contacted SG officials to inform them of the update.

“President Brown sent a letter to Student Government explaining the current status, which is it [gender-neutral housing] is under active consideration,” said BU spokesman Colin Riley. “In early-to-mid-December, he wrote to SG to review policy proposals.”

Brown sent his letter at the end of the fall 2012 semester via email. The letter was not released publicly.

“The letter was more communication with Student Government,” Rudra said. “He didn’t say anything about wanting to continue discussing directly with Student Government, so he directed us to the committee.”

Rudra said he supports amending BU’s housing policy to include gender-neutral housing throughout BU.

“Certainly there are students supporting the initiative,” Rudra said. “Student Government passed the proposal through senate and worked with administrators, and we support the initiative on campus of changing the housing policy.”

In October, SG officials announced gender-neutral housing would be available at an unspecified future date, following years of advocacy. SG received more than 700 signatures in favor of the original proposal.

BU officials announced in December the initiative was indefinitely halted as a number of other housing issues, including preventing freshmen from living in Danielsen Hall, and creating more on-campus housing for transfer students, took priority.

After the administration announced the halting of the initiative, about 50 students affiliated with a group known as Gender Neutral BU protested on Dec. 14 by entering Brown’s office and delivering proposals.

More than 1,500 BU students signed an online petition posted on change.org by Gender Neutral BU, advocating the proposal be made a priority.

Rudra and LeVelle will meet with the Committee on Student Life and Policies, which is headed by Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore and Stan Buchin, a School of Hospitality Administration professor.

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