SGA hosts town hall about gender inclusive housing and the consolidation

By Ciara Frisbie News Editor and Sean Keenan Staff Reporter

Georgia State’s Student Government Association (SGA) hosted a Q&A-style town hall to address the concerns about gender inclusive housing and the consolidation between the university and Georgia Perimeter College (GPC).

Gender inclusive housing

Director of University Housing Dr. Marilyn A. De LaRoche and Associate Director of Residence Life Dr. Mylon Kirksy spoke and answered students’ questions regarding the implementation of next year’s gender inclusive housing option.

De LaRoche said although the new living option may appeal more to non-binary or transgender students, those students will not take priority over any others.

“The application is open to anybody… so you need to apply timely to request the option,” she said.
Kirksy said University Housing will not inquire about the sexual or gender orientations of applicants.

“Some people are not ready for you to know their business,” he said. “We are not going to preference [anyone] in a way that could discriminate [some] for the sake of protecting others.”

SGA President Lanier Henson said gender inclusive housing will cater towards many different living arrangements.

“It’s not necessarily just for non-binary and transgender students but also for siblings and cousins or other relatives,” he said.

However, SGA’s Elections Commission’s Chairperson Nyomi Haynes said she believes first-semester students shouldn’t have the option to live with the opposite sex.

“I think for freshman first semester students it may be in their best interests to not allow them the option until they got past their first semester because there are a lot of things they have to overcome and get used to,” she said. “…Living with the member of the opposite sex could be distracting or may be something to get used to that they may not be ready for yet.”

The consolidation

Georgia State’s Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Douglass Covey said the GSU-GPC consolidation will be beneficial to the students and staff.

“The people who consider that this in any way will reduce the quality of Georgia State really don’t understand what this represents…,” he said.

Covey also said Georgia State used to be called the state’s ‘best kept secret’ but the university’s reputation has grown in the past few years.

“Georgia State is becoming one of the largest institutions in the nation,” he said. “The sheer weight of one of America’s largest universities is going to reap lots of benefits for us. This in many ways will increase the value of your degrees exponentially.”

Dr. Peter Lyons, Associate Provost for Institutional Effectiveness, said he is working on 81 different committees looking for student representatives to talk about how to consolidate the universities.

“Georgia Perimeter will be a college within Georgia State University,” he said. “The board of regents approved a plan on Jan. 6 that the new institution will be called GSU and the president of that institution will be Mark Becker.”

Lyons also said he does not anticipate additional student fees to come with the consolidation.

“We don’t believe there will be an increase in tuition. Becker doesn’t want this to be a financial strain,” Lyons said. “We’re conscious this is an issue [and] our primary thought is what’s in the best interest of students and parents.”