WJTV News Channel 12 - Bill would nix UNC decision on opposite sex suitemates

Bill would nix UNC decision on opposite sex suitemates

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A bill proposed in the North Carolina Senate would overturn a University of North Carolina decision to allow students to live in dorms and apartments with members of the opposite gender.

UNC trustees approved the policy in 2012.

Senate Bill 658, "UNC Dormitory Rules" introduced by Sen. David Curtis (R-Lincoln), Sen. Ben Clarke (D-Cumberland) and Sen. Chad Barefoot (R-Wake) will put an end to that policy, Curtis said in a statement.

The bill states that the University of North Carolina shall prohibit the assignment of members of the opposite sex to the same room, suite or apartment, unless they are siblings or legally married.

"The purpose of this bill is to help the UNC system regain its focus on the core mission of educating young people and helping them find meaningful employment in our state," said Curtis, the bill's primary sponsor. "UNC did not become a national leader in academics by wasting time and tax dollars on frivolous social experiments."

The UNC trustees endorsed the program unanimously, largely because supporters said gender non-specific housing option say the move would help students -- specifically gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students -- who are being harassed and bullied in traditional on-campus housing.
Carolina already has co-ed dorms, but opposite sex students do not share rooms.
Chancellor Holden Thorp has said the move would help protect the safety of UNC Chapel Hill students.

But one of the senators who introduced the bill, Democrat Ben Clarke of Cumberland, said in a statement, "We understand that times change. But the fundamental, core values that are woven into the social fabric of our community are eternal and unwavering. 

"UNC must respect these values in the establishment and application of its policies as it continues its quest to remain in the top tier of the nation's public institutions of higher learning."

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