University of Oklahoma mixed-gender housing program is a success, officials say

Starting this semester, the University of Oklahoma launched a project in which one wing of the fifth floor of Walker Center was designated as mixed-gender by suite. University officials are working on a proposal that would expand the program in the coming years.
by Silas Allen Modified: October 12, 2012 at 9:38 pm •  Published: October 13, 2012

Last March, about 60 students staged a demonstration on OU's South Oval to call for the policy, which they said would protect gay students from harassment.

OU President David Boren appeared briefly before the group, accepted a petition students presented and promised to study the issue.

The petition stated that gay and transgender students are uncomfortable with existing housing arrangements and often fall victim to derogatory remarks and bullying.

A 2005 National School Climate Survey referenced in the petition indicates that 40 percent of the students surveyed reported they felt unsafe at school due to their sexual orientation.

Brittingham said the mixed-gender suite program was the closest option to a true mixed-gender housing unit the university could propose.

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by Silas Allen
General Assignment/Breaking News Reporter
Silas Allen is a news reporter for The Oklahoman. He is a Missouri native and a 2008 graduate of the University of Missouri.
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The project isn't the university's first attempt to integrate male and female students in its residence halls. Last year, OU established a mixed-gender floor in Couch Center. In that project, suites on the floor were designated as all-male or all-female, with male and female suites situated next to each other.

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