The University of Missouri will offer gender-neutral housing to students this coming fall, with returning students have access to the new option when they enroll for fall housing options.
According to a report from the Columbia Daily Tribune, the block of dorm rooms are open to students of any gender, with the goal of the initiative being the creation of a safe, secure housing option for students that identify as transgender or gender nonconforming. The 2015-2016 academic year will serve as a test for the project, which will offer 16 beds in one of the university's residence halls.
The report suggests that some 150 universities nationwide have adopted similar programs. The unique aspect to Missouri's plan, however is that incoming freshmen can also select the gender-neutral housing option. Of the 16 total spaces, four will be reserved for freshmen that sign up for housing int he month of April. University officials say plans for expanding the housing option will depend on student demand.
The 16-bed space takes up half of the first floor in the university's College Avenue Hall. The dorm rooms consist of either single rooms or double suites with a shared bathroom. Interested students will be required to sign agreements affirming they are understanding and open to having roommates, suitemates and floormates who are of a different gender or gender nonconforming.