A lot has happened since I wrote about the Gender Non-Specific Housing Campaign happening at UNC!
Gender Non-Specific Housing has been approved at UNC!!!!
So how did it happen?
Here’s a brief sequence of events:
The Gender Non-Specific Housing Campaign after much effort succeeded in getting an opportunity to present to the University Affairs committee of the UNC Board of Trustee (BOT), which deals with all that is happening at UNC.
Once the date to present was secured, November. 15th, our efforts doubled to make sure that we could use all of our power to raise awareness and visibility on campus. The decision was made to have a “Sleep In,” the day before the presentation to show the UNC BOT that students on campus are ready to support the campaign and also to build momentum for the day of the event.
On Tuesday, November 13th, students from different organizations hosted a “Sleep In for Equal Housing” at the Campus Y, one of the organizations that i’m affiliated with. The “Sleep In for Equal Housing” was meant to bring people together for equal housing for all students on our campus. The turn out was amazing! It might have helped that the two days before we dorm stormed many of the dorms on campus, passing out around 400 pamphlets.
Around 100 students came out at the peak of the event. It helped that we had some of most sought after student performers perform during the night, including Mipso (band), the UNC Achordants (acapella), and UNC Wordsmiths (spoken word). The program included making posters and a banner for the following day, discussions on the importance of GNH, amongst others.
After an exciting night sleeping at the Campus Y, we dispersed early the following morning to attend classes and prepare for the day.
Later that day, Wednesday, November 14th, we met at 2:45pm at the Campus Y to march on over to the BOT meeting where Kevin Claybren, the person who started the whole campaign as well as Terri Phoenix, the director of the LGBTQ center on campus were going to present to the BOT committee. After much chanting to our destination (the Carolina Inn) we headed in and were ready to offer moral support to Kevin and Terri.
Once the committee meeting started we listened as the agenda items on the committee’s list came up. One of the committee members said that the presentation on GNH would happen last.
Once it was Kevin’s and Terri’s turn to present it was the moment of truth. After their great presentation on gender non-specific housing option a Q&A session started. One of our biggest allies was the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Winston Crisp, who reiterated his support at the meeting, as he was present.
One of the things that caught my attention was that every time someone said something that we liked and we would snap our fingers the BOT members would look at our group and probably wondered what the snapping meant. By the end of the Q&A and after the committee passed an unanimous resolution in favor of GNH even the chairwoman of the committee joined in on the snapping. That was priceless!
We were told that now that the committee had passed a resolution in favor of GNH that the full Board of Trustees would hear and vote on it, which would be the following day, making it a quick turn around.
With a brief celebration we sent out massive email blasts to all of the listservs on campus that we knew of to update students on what was happening and to ask them to attend the meeting the following morning. Needless to say it was beautiful to see all of the status updates on Facebook and seeing fellow classmates join in the fight!
The following morning we again met at the Campus Y at 8:45 and after being updated that we shouldn’t show up until 9:30 headed over. It was a good size of people of about 15. After report backs from different committees the University Affairs committee went and brought up their resolution in favor of GNH. After a brief discussion amongst the Board of Trustees they voted and it passed unanimously. Right after the vote Chancellor Thorp said that yes he was going to make sure that GNH would be implemented the following fall. It was literally that fast of a turn around. For a brief moment I was wondering if I had missed something but no, GNH had finally passed!!
This experience of proving feedback on the GNH Campaign has been one of the most rewarding things I have done at UNC.
Because of one student’s voice and courage (Kevin Claybren’s) future students at UNC will feel safe and i’m really glad to be part of a university that prioritizes the safety and well being of its students. I’m glad to have been part of such an important cause and look forward to what’s to come next.
Sleep In: Students are gathered to support Gender Non-Specific Housing at UNC and enjoying performances.
March: Students gather to march to the UNC Board of Trustee’s University Affairs Committee to show support for GNH
BOT meeting: Students waiting to hear for Gender Non-Specific to be brought up before the University Affairs Committee.
Presentation: Kevin and Terri ( left to right) are presenting on GNH and the need for it at UNC Chapel Hill.
BOT morning: This is the morning after the University Affairs Committee passed an unanimous resolution in favor of GNH. This is when it came before the full UNC Board of Trustees and it passed unanimously as well.