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UNC Board Rejects Gender-Neutral Housing Proposal

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — The UNC Board of Governors has voted to ban all system campuses from allowing students to choose roommates of the opposite sex.

The News & Observer of Raleigh reports ( the vote took place Friday.

Proponents of the UNC policy, which passed the board of trustees last year, argue it will help prevent harassment of gay, lesbian and transgender students. Advocates say many gay and transgender students feel more comfortable with members of the opposite sex and the policy would have allowed a gay man to live with a woman best friend.

Opponents deemed the living arrangements inappropriate.

Tami Fitzgerald, executive director of the NC Values Coalition, said the board of governors “has brought leadership and sanity to the university housing environment.”

“With this uniform policy, our public universities and colleges can get back to the business of educating our students and preparing them to be productive members of our society, instead of promoting co-habitation among students of the opposite sex,” Fitzgerald said in a statement.

Stuart Campbell, executive director of Equality NC, said the board of governors had no reason to reverse the decision of the UNC-Chapel Hill board of trustees.

“This could literally make a life or death difference for kids who are struggling with their sexual orientation or gender identity and want to have a safe space they can call home while they are on campus.” Campbell said in a statement. “This move has stripped away an important tool university administrators had to protect their LGBT students.”

When students return to campus on Aug. 17, officials will have to reassign those who had been placed in 32 gender-neutral spaces made available in two dorms and the Ram Village Apartments.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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