The UAA Department of Residence Life is proud to offer Gender-Inclusive Housing (GIH) as part of UAA’s ongoing commitment to develop a community that is inclusive of all identities, including gender, gender expression, sex and sexual orientation. We recognize the important role stable, comfortable and safe housing can play in a person's academic success. Our goal is to offer our students such housing options so they are able to focus the greatest amount of their time and attention on their classes as possible.
The Purpose and Goals of GIH
- While open to all students, the main purpose of GIH is to provide students who identify as transgender, gender queer or non-binary with a living environment where their gender identity is appreciated and celebrated.
- GIH creates a pathway for residents to request roommates who are more appropriate for them and who they would be more comfortable living with by giving them the opportunity to remove gender as a factor in the assignments process.
- GIH is a demonstration of the commitment UAA and the Department of Residence Life have made to support diversity, equity and inclusion through action.
- The residential community at UAA is made up of students who hold a wide range of identities and belief systems. The diversity of our community is one of its greatest strengths, and Residence Life is committed to creating a living learning environment where all students feel welcome and a sense of belonging. It takes every member of this community and their guests to make our spaces equitable, inclusive and socially just.
- A foundational goal of GIH is the creation of comfortable and welcoming living environments for all residents. Participants in GIH are expected to have a strong understanding of diversity, equity and inclusion, especially in regards to gender identity and expression. Hostile, marginalizing or intolerant expressions or behavior will not be tolerated. Residents who have any issues are encouraged to submit a report to the appropriate office. These reports are taken seriously and appropriate actions will be taken to address violations of these expectations.
GIH at the University of Alaska Anchorage
There are several ways that colleges and universities approach the establishment of GIH in their residential communities. At UAA, GIH is an opt-in program students can indicate their interest in at the time they submit their housing application. By opting into this program, students are indicating that they wish to have gender removed from consideration in the assignments process. This means that program participants should be comfortable living with students of any gender, gender expression, sex or sexual orientation. Living in GIH does not necessarily mean that residents will be placed with residents who have a different gender identity than their own.
UAA does not have a dedicated section of the residential campus for GIH, but has instead chosen to implement GIH on the suite and apartment level, which is where gender is normally taken into account when making assignments. In other words, UAA does not have entire buildings of residents who identify as either male or female, but residents are assigned to suites and apartments outside of GIH based on the gender they have listed in the UAA system. Instead of limiting GIH to one area, all of our communities can have gender-inclusive spaces in them. This allows students to participate in other housing programs or Living Learning Communities while also enjoying the benefits of GIH.
Assignments and Roommates in GIH
Roommate assignments are generally determined based on 1) requests to live with specific individuals, and/or 2) the answers provided by residents to questions on the housing application related to lifestyle preferences (i.e. level of tidiness or quiet, willingness to live with a service or assistance animal in the suite, etc.). Residence Life makes every effort to honor roommate requests, though such requests do not supersede departmental policies that dictate room assignments (i.e. First-Year Residential Experience (FYRE) participation requirement, eligibility for apartments, etc.). For roommate determinations that are not based on requests for a specific individual, Residence Life goes to great lengths to create pairings that are as compatible as possible based upon the information the student provides in their application.
Roommate requests for specific individuals can be submitted in UAOnline via the student’s self-service portal under the Campus Housing, Dining and Mail Services section once their housing application has been approved. When a resident opts into GIH, they are placed in a separate pool of students for the purposes of roommate requests. This means that residents who are part of GIH can only request roommates who also opted into the program. Roommate requests are only granted if both residents request each other. We will do our best to place all students who request GIH with other students who have requested GIH, but if demand for GIH is low and there are not enough requests to fill GIH suites or apartments, you may be placed outside of GIH in an assignment with residents who match the gender you have listed in the UAA system.
On occasion, conflict may arise in a GIH suite or apartment. Residents are encouraged to communicate with each other regarding issues they are experiencing in their rooms or to reach out to Residence Life staff members for assistance. Residents in GIH are highly encouraged to work with their Resident Advisor (RA) on completing a roommate agreement at the beginning of the semester or any time a new roommate moves into the suite or apartment. Residents interested in moving to a different suite or apartment can contact their Residence Coordinator regarding their request. Contact information for Residence Life staff members can be found on our website.
UAA Residential Facilities
The apartments and residence halls at UAA are configured to provide nearly every resident a private bedroom. Residents generally share a suite or apartment with one to three other residents. The residence halls have a limited number of single suites that residents can be put on a waitlist to receive. The housing application includes a space to provide additional information that would be helpful in determining their assignment. We strongly encourage students to provide as much information as possible and we commit to honoring requests to the best of our ability.
The residents of each suite or apartment need to coordinate and communicate with each other regarding the use of common spaces within their unit, including the bathroom. Residents may share a bathroom with up to three other students within their suite or apartment, but none of our facilities have communal showers or restrooms. Additionally, there are two all-gender restrooms in the lobby of each residence hall. To see a floor plan of our various room types, please visit the Explore Housing Options page on our website.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there an additional cost to live in GIH?
No. Housing rates are the same for all residents.
Is there a separate application for GIH?
The only action required by students interested in GIH is an affirmative response to the GIH question on the housing application or supplemental application form and an acknowledgement that students understand the nature and intent of GIH. Residence Life does ask students some clarifying questions on the housing application in order to better match roommates and provide support, but we will not ask any resident to provide documentation or justification for requesting GIH.
Can residents live with someone with whom they are in a romantic relationship?
Romantic partners are not prohibited from living together in GIH, though Residence Life generally discourages residents from using GIH in this manner. The relationship and interactions between romantic partners and roommates tend to be fundamentally different, creating a potentially challenging social dynamic to navigate in a suite or apartment, including the potential impact on others should couples have relationship issues or experience a break up.
Will parents/guardians be notified if their student chooses GIH?
No. Residence Life communicates assignment information directly to the student. A student’s housing status is considered to be part of their educational record and therefore protected by federal privacy laws. Residents can sign a release form that allows them to select certain types of information that Residence Life is permitted to share with individuals identified by the resident. Residence Life recommends that residents stay in close communication with individuals who care about them in order to avoid causing them unnecessary concern.
Is there a way to change my gender identity and/or personal pronouns with the institution?
Yes! Students can change or add both their gender identity and personal pronouns by clicking on the Update Gender/Pronouns option under the Personal Information tab in UAOnline. On this page, students can select the gender identity and/or personal pronouns that best represent their identity and experience. This information is then integrated into class rosters and many other areas of the institution with which students have frequent contact.
Please be advised that gender identity is different in the UA system from legal sex, which is recorded officially with the University based on the information students provide on their application to UAA for the purposes of government reporting requirements. In order to change legal sex, students must submit a Change of Personal Information form to the Office of the Registrar. Examples of how this information is used include federal financial aid and Human Resources reports. Gender options for legal sex are limited to female, male and do not identify as male or female due to governmental reporting requirements.