Open Gender Housing

What is it?

Beginning Fall 2012, Bates began offering open gender housing to increase inclusivity, to support the college’s non-discrimination policy regarding housing assignments, and to respect the diversity within gender, sex and sexuality.

Open gender housing is now available for all upperclass students (sophomores, juniors, and seniors). It allows students to pick a roommate or roommates based upon compatibility, without the constraints of biological sex or gender identity.


Gender designations have been removed from all upperclass rooms on campus, and students are now required to verify their gender on the Garnet Gateway. We provide a welcoming environment for all students to celebrate diversity in all its forms, inclusive of gender, and hope that our students embrace this philosophy while choosing rooms on campus at lottery. We strive to provide a welcoming environment for all students and to celebrate diversity in all its forms, inclusive of gender. In our approach to the housing selection process, it is our expectation that our students embrace a philosophy of  acceptance and representation of a diverse array of gender identities. While our goal is a maximum of 55% representation of any one gender identity in any residence, we reject the use of a gender as a means of allowing or prohibiting access to spaces.

Students must fill the chosen room or suite to full capacity. In the event of a student going abroad or taking a leave, students would be required to identify a new roommate (of any gender) to fill the vacancy. Residence Life reserves the right to assign any student to the vacancy or relocate the remaining residents.

What type of restrooms will be available?

Some campus locations have gender-neutral bathrooms associated with them, and some do not. Students should factor this into their housing decision.

What if I have an open space in my room?

If students have a person in mind, they should let the Office of Residence Life and Health Education know with whom they desire to live and have that person confirm their interest. If students do not have anyone in mind, they should communicate housing preferences to the Housing Coordinator. The sex of the students will be considered when a vacancy that exists in a multiple occupancy room is filled by the Office of Residence Life and Health Education.

What if I’m not satisfied with my roommate?

The room-change request process is unchanged. Upperclass students can come in on the first day of classes and add themselves to the Room Change Process, which is first come, first serve, but also respects class year.

Who can I contact if I have questions about Open Gender housing?

Students can email or come in to the Office of Residence Life and Health Education to speak with a member of our staff.