Date of Award
Doctor of Education (EDD)
College of Education
Gender neutral housing is an innovative new policy being developed in colleges around the country. One reason to create these policies is an attempt to meet the unique needs and challenges of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students. As the number of gender neutral housing policies in the United States continues to rise, research has been slow to meet the growing demand for empirical data on gender neutral housing.
The dissertation presented a case study of one institution. Interviews and focus groups were conducted with administrators, gender neutral housing committee members, residence life staff, and students. This dissertation examined the implementation, execution, and impact of gender neutral housing on the campus. The purpose was to provide a transferable case study for other institutions, as well as to provide the university with information about how gender neutral housing functions on the campus.
This dissertation found that implementation began as a grass roots proposal from LGBT advocates in the student population. The university responded by creating a gender neutral housing committee that examined gender neutral housing policies on other campuses, sought feedback from the community, and eventually made recommendations for the creation of gender neutral housing.
The strength of the policy is rooted in its openness to the entire community. Its weaknesses stem from misinformation and confusion about the policy, and a lack of practical access for first-year students.
This dissertation also found that while the campus climate was not heavily impacted by gender neutral housing, individual students experienced a positive change as a result of participation.
The results indicated that while the policy began as an LGBT specific program, the culture of the university and the gender neutral housing committee led to gender neutral housing becoming open to all students. Similarly, while the campus climate has not changed dramatically as a result of gender neutral housing, it has opened discussion on issues of gender and sexuality.
It is recommended that the university conduct an awareness campaign to address misinformation about the policy, as well as consider alternative means for allowing first-year students to participate in gender neutral housing. Further, institutions seeking to implement gender neutral housing can consider this case as a model of practice.
Chave, J. (2013). A Case Study of Gender Neutral Policies in University Housing [Doctoral dissertation, Lynn University]. SPIRAL. https://spiral.lynn.edu/etds/167