Last week the OSCA board passed a historic proposal affirming every student’s right to safe and comfortable housing. Transgender and gender-variant students who are having significant, unresolvable issues within ResEd are now able to jump the wait list into co-op housing.
Why was this proposal necessary? ResEd’s current housing options for trans students often fail to meet their needs. All-gender housing is restricted to a few locations, it is not open to first-years, and trans students are not given priority to live there. Students may be placed in a room or hall based on their assigned sex rather than their gender identity, may not have access to an appropriate bathroom, and do not have sufficient institutional support. Because of these problems, many trans and gender-variant students try to live in co-ops, where all-gender bathrooms are always available, room assignments are based on student preferences and easily changed, and there are resources specifically designed to provide support and address transphobia.
Thanks to this proposal, students will no longer have to endure difficult and uncomfortable housing situations while they linger on the OSCA wait list. We don’t intend this to be a solution to institutionalized transphobia in campus housing. Rather, we hope that it will spark a dialogue and inspire further change both in OSCA and in ResEd. We look forward to the time when everyone at Oberlin will have access to safe and comfortable housing that respects their identity, and when proposals like this one won’t be necessary.
To learn more about OSCA’s new policy, students can contact the Accessibility Coordinators at [email protected] oberlin.edu. People who are interested in continuing to address trans housing issues on campus should contact Eli Goldberg ([email protected] oberlin.edu).
The OSCA Board of Directors