School offers 'gender blind' dorm rooms

June 13, 2012 at 3:50 PM

BUFFALO, N.Y., June 13 (UPI) -- A New York state university said this fall will see the first time the school has allowed students of different genders to share dorm rooms.

University at Buffalo officials said students have been shown to do better academically while living on campus, and they are hoping the move will encourage more students to remain in university housing, The Buffalo News reported Wednesday.

"The role of the university is not to determine with whom students may or may not live, but rather to empower its students to make their own decisions responsibly," said Andrea Costantino, director of campus living. "In today's society there is no reason why someone should not be living with whom he or she feels most comfortable."

Trey Ufholcz, a transgender student who recently earned his master's degree in social work at the school, brought the idea of "gender blind" housing to the attention of administrators last year.

"I thought it was an outdated policy," Ufholcz said. "I think as a society, we have progressed."

The National Student Genderblind Campaign, which promotes allowing students of different genders to live together on campus, said the policy can help to provide a safer environment for LGBT students.

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