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University of Arizona Weighs Mixed-Gender Dorms

University of Arizona Weighs Mixed-Gender Dorms

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The University of Arizona is considering a pilot program to allow students of the opposite sex to live in the same dorm room, making it the latest school to ask whether the option could make vulnerable LGBT students feel more comfortable about living on campus.

According to The Arizona Republic, the option would be available to a limited number of students next year if the Tucson-based public university decides to pursue it.

"Also known as gender-neutral, open housing or mixed-gender housing, the option is a growing trend on U.S. college campuses," reports TheArizona Republic. "It is offered to a varying degree at more than 50 colleges and universities, from elite private schools such as Dartmouth College to large public universities such as the University of California-Berkeley. Most of the policies have been enacted in the past five years."

However, conservative critics such as the Alliance Defense Fund say that mixed-gender housing could increase sexual assaults and sexual harassment. Fund spokesman David French called the prospect "completely at odds with common sense."

According to the Republic, "UA officials are still working out details on the possible gender-neutral option. The university provides housing for about 6,000 students in Tucson, the majority being freshmen. The pilot likely would be limited to 22 students and located in the wing of a residence hall. Students would have to request the option. Officials said they don't plan to ask about a person's sexual orientation in the housing application."

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