Flexible Housing FAQ
Q: Why offer Flexible Housing?
A: Over the years we have had occasional requests for flexible housing and are formalizing a way forward for students who seek this special arrangement. Mason, as well as many institutions across the country, is responding to the changes in residential student housing needs. There are numerous reasons that a student would need or want to live in a more flexible and inclusive housing assignment. Giving our upper class students the opportunity to select their apartment or suitemates without restrictions embraces the needs of the broader Mason community.
Q: What is the history on Flexible Housing
A: Universities across the country have been working toward the development of more flexible living-learning environments that strive to provide a range of options that respond to students' diverse backgrounds, interests, preferences and needs in a thoughtful way. More than 150 colleges and universities offered some form of gender-neutral housing during this academic year.
Pursuing this initiative has been a recommendation of the George Mason University Campus Climate task force from 3 years ago. The George Mason University Housing & Residence Life team AND partners across campus have been thorough and thoughtful in developing Mason's initial approach.
Q: What is the application and assignments process for Flexible Housing?
A: The Flexible Housing option will be available to returning sophomores, juniors, and seniors through the housing selection process. Students who wish to take advantage of the new option generally must enter into the housing selection process with four or six apartment/suitemates who agree to this arrangement. Our Housing staff would work with any first-year or transfer students individually if a special need was identified.
Q: Are any special steps being taken in the roll out of this new option?
A: To ensure that our students do not enter this agreement lightly, our housing services staff developed an application process that includes a special agreement and a face-to-face meeting with a professional staff member. This meeting with the group members is meant to explore potential issues and to ensure students have thought through the unique issues that may arise. Housing staff will check in with group members during the year to identify issues of concern.
Q: Can students randomly be assigned to a roommate of the opposite sex?
A: No. The selection of gender-neutral housing will be by student choice only; no student will be assigned to a gender neutral living situation without his or her expressed consent.
Q: What if a student chooses to live with someone in a gender-neutral arrangement and becomes uncomfortable with the situation?
A: Students will have the option to dissolve their group and move into more traditional housing if flexible housing does not work for them.
Q: What if parents don't want their child to live in a gender-neutral housing space? Will parents be notified if their child opts for gender-neutral housing?
A: It is the student's choice to tell their parent or guardian about their decision to live in a gender-neutral housing. We encourage them to maintain an open dialogue with their families so that they can be supportive of their housing decision.
Q: How is the Flexible Housing accommodations setup?
All upper class suites and apartments that are open to gender-neutral housing have single use bathrooms (one toilet and one shower).
Q: Can couples live together under this policy?
A: We discourage students of any sexual orientation who are in a relationship from living together in campus housing. However, out of respect for student privacy, we will not question the student's motives for requesting gender-neutral housing.