Gonzaga’s website was updated Tuesday morning to make information regarding gender-inclusive housing on campus more visible and accessible to students.
Vice Provost for Student Affairs Kent Porterfield said that gender-inclusive housing has been offered at GU since 2017, but this fall, he received feedback from Housing and Residence Life and the Campus Pride Index that information about it is not visible. The changes to the website will make it easy to find and answer commonly asked questions about it as well, he said.
An email was sent from Porterfield’s office to all undergraduate students informing the student body of the changes.
According to the email, gender-inclusive housing is housing that provides students with the opportunity to live with those who share the same gender identity as they do, regardless of sex assigned at birth.
“Gender-Inclusive Housing addresses the diverse needs of our student body and serves Gonzaga’s mission for developing the whole person, and for fostering a mature commitment to the dignity of the human person,” Porterfield said in the email.
Jamie Aitken, senior director of strategic communications at GU, said that the information on gender-inclusive housing is located on the right side of the Housing and Dining page, and it includes information on gender inclusive housing, LGBQ+ housing resources, terms and definitions, frequently asked questions and links to the Lincoln LGBTQ+ Resource Center’s page.
Jon Wheeler, director of Residence Life, said that the housing application will also be edited to make it more comprehensible to students what resources are available to them and clarify what gender-inclusive housing is.
Additional questions have been added to the student profile section of the application that ask if students are interested in living in an environment that is supportive of LGBQ students, and whether students are interested in living in an environment that is supportive of transgender and nonbinary students, he said.
“It’s taken a while, but part of that is that we’ve really tried to be comprehensive in our approach,” Porterfield said. “We’ve tried to really think about how to do it well and not just to take the information that was currently already available and make it more visible, we tried to actually enhance it.”
Matthew Barcus, program manager of LGBTQ+ education and support at the Lincoln LGBTQ+ Resource Center, said that the process of updating GU’s website involved many people from different areas of the university, including students living in gender inclusive housing, resident assistants, students involved with the Lincoln LGBTQ+ Resource Center and those who work with Diversity, Inclusion, Community and Equity (DICE). The process also included members of the president’s staff, Chief Diversity Officer Robin Kelley and members of Mission and Ministry.
“If it’s not widely communicated, it leaves up the possibility for people not to know, and I think if something is aligned with our mission and aligned with our practices and we’re doing it, it is important that everybody on the campus is aware,” Barcus said.
The Gender-Inclusive and LGBQ+ Housing Resources page can be found at gonzaga.edu/genderinclusivehousing.