Bill preventing UNC opposite-sex housing returns - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Bill preventing UNC opposite-sex housing returns

Posted: Updated:
RALEIGH, N.C. -

A bill blocking a University of North Carolina policy allowing students to choose roommates of the opposite sex has found new life in the state Senate budget.
    
The proposal was inserted in the $20.6 billion plan approved this week. It seeks to prevent a UNC-Chapel Hill policy giving students the option to choose opposite-sex roommates from taking effect this fall.
    
The proposal would allow opposite-sex assignments only if students are siblings, legally married or a parent and child. It was introduced in a bill that never received a committee vote. A deadline requiring any non-spending bill to pass one chamber to stay alive through the 2013-14 legislative session recently expired.
    
Proponents of the UNC policy, which passed the board of trustees last year, argue it will help prevent harassment of gay, lesbian and transgender students. Advocates say many gay and transgender students feel more comfortable with members of the opposite sex and the policy, for example, would allow a gay man to live with a woman best friend from high school.
    
Opposite-sex students would only share living spaces in apartments or suites, not individual rooms. Nearly 100 campuses nationwide have similar policies, according to UNC's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Center.
    
To take effect, the proposal would have to survive the House version of the budget, which is expected in three weeks. Any differences in spending plans would have to be hashed out in a conference committee.
    
It's not unusual for unrelated policy items to find their way into the budget, though it has been the practice of previous legislatures to include the names of lawmakers who add those provisions. Only one of the three sponsors of the original bill returned phone calls or email messages seeking comment.
    
Sen. Ben Clark, D-Hoke, said he didn't push to include his proposal in the budget and doesn't know who did.
    
"I think the budget is for taking care of things like how we're going to spend money," he said.
    
He said his views on student housing "may be a little old-fashioned," but the university should be able to combat bullying with heightened anti-harassment policies and enforcement.
    
"It's incumbent upon them to make sure they're free of harassment in any dorm, in any classroom, in any organization," he said. "To me, it's a problem if we think we have to give special accommodations. It's unacceptable to me that they should not feel they're free everywhere."
    
Kevin Claybren, a UNC junior and member of the advocacy group that pushed for the rule, said the budget would overturn a policy supported by 55 university departments and committees as well as 3,000 students who signed a petition before the board of trustees vote.
    
He added that fears of heterosexual couples abusing the system aren't supported by reviews at universities that have already adopted similar policies, and UNC's housing department will actively screen for those cases. This year will include only 32 rooms, or less than 1 percent of all housing units, as a limited pilot program, Claybren said.
    
"We know that harassment is a reality on our campus, especially in housing, so why not make sure that our campus can be as safe as possible for all students? He said. "This program isn't even set in stone."
    
House budget writer Rep. Nelson Dollar, R-Wake, said he's concerned with the number of unrelated items in the budget proposal, and his chamber will look over all of them before releasing its own spending plan.
    
"The House would prefer to have less policy that is not tied directly to appropriations, and so we're obviously looking at that issue," he said. "There's quite a bit of policy that's come over from the Senate, and so we're going to be carefully reviewing the work that the Senate has done."

  • 29 Virginia High Schools on Personal Finance Top-100 List

    29 Virginia High Schools on Personal Finance Top-100 List

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 9:32 PM EDT2014-04-23 01:32:06 GMT
    29 schools in the Commonwealth, including many in our area, ranked the the nation's top 100 best high schools for personal finance instruction.
    29 schools in the Commonwealth, including many in our area, ranked the the nation's top 100 best high schools for personal finance instruction.
  • Franklin Co. Sheriff's Office investigating juvenile death

    Franklin Co. Sheriff's Office investigating juvenile death

    Franklin Co. Sheriff's Office investigating juvenile death

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 10:50 AM EDT2014-04-22 14:50:58 GMT
    Deputies were called to Double Oaks Lane in the Burnt Chimney community, where they found a seven-year-old boy with a gunshot wound.
    Deputies were called to Double Oaks Lane in the Burnt Chimney community, where they found a seven-year-old boy with a gunshot wound.
  • Roanoke Police release pictures of suspects in armed robbery

    Roanoke Police release pictures of suspects in armed robbery

    Monday, April 21 2014 4:23 PM EDT2014-04-21 20:23:34 GMT
    Roanoke City Police continue to investigate the armed robbery that took place at Check into Cash on Valley View Boulevard last Tuesday, April 15th.
    Roanoke City Police continue to investigate the armed robbery that took place at Check into Cash on Valley View Boulevard last Tuesday, April 15th.
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Mom bites off dog's ear to save daughter during attack

    Mom bites off dog's ear to save daughter during attack

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 2:49 PM EDT2014-04-22 18:49:19 GMT
    Image from CNN/KHOU-TVImage from CNN/KHOU-TV
    In a backyard in Alvin, swings a very lucky girl. Her name is Mackenzi Plass, or Kenzi for short, and she survived a dog attack and has undergone several surgeries."She'll be two and a half in May," said her very proud mother Chelsi Camp. "She's doing great. You wouldn't know it if you couldn't see."Mackenzi has scars on her face after the ordeal just weeks ago that put her mother's animal instincts to the test."You do whatever you can," said Camp. "I don't have physical strength at my side."...
    In a backyard in Alvin, swings a very lucky girl. Her name is Mackenzi Plass, or Kenzi for short, and she survived a dog attack and has undergone several surgeries."She'll be two and a half in May," said her very proud mother Chelsi Camp. "She's doing great. You wouldn't know it if you couldn't see."Mackenzi has scars on her face after the ordeal just weeks ago that put her mother's animal instincts to the test."You do whatever you can," said Camp. "I don't have physical strength at my side."...
  • Mom wins lawsuit against TSA after breast milk screening problems

    Mom wins lawsuit against TSA after breast milk screening problems

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 4:40 PM EDT2014-04-23 20:40:54 GMT
    A Southern California woman who was held at a Phoenix airport four years ago after refusing to have her breast milk X-rayed has reached a settlement with the Transportation Security Administration. Stacey
    A Southern California woman who was held at a Phoenix airport four years ago after refusing to have her breast milk X-rayed has reached a settlement with the Transportation Security Administration. Stacey
  • Owner of Raleigh 'Party Mansion' guilty of tax evasion

    Owner of Raleigh 'Party Mansion' guilty of tax evasion

    Monday, April 14 2014 4:07 PM EDT2014-04-14 20:07:04 GMT
    Claude Verbal II, who now lives in Miami, pleads guilty to a number of federal tax evasion charges.
    Claude Verbal II, who now lives in Miami, pleads guilty to a number of federal tax evasion charges.
Powered by WorldNow

WSLS 10, P.O. Box 10
Roanoke, VA 24022-0010

Telephone: 540.981.9110
Fax: 540.343.3157
Email: news@wsls.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.