UWM to implement UW-System’s first Inclusive Housing Policy

UWM’s high ranking in LGBT+ indeces will be enhanced by its new inclusive housing policy. UWM students (l-r) are Jon Watts, Carly Baker, Fee Lockett, José Rea and Kwame Grayson. (Photo by David Thornburg.)

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is the first UW System institution to approve an Inclusive Housing policy for its residence halls. The Inclusive Housing policy provides the university necessary flexibility to accommodate the needs of LGBT+ students, allies and others for whom cultural or identity considerations require a new way of looking at room assignments, residence communities and other housing issues.

The new policy goes into effect at UWM for fall 2013.

“We strive to provide an inclusive environment for all students, and with this policy campus leaders at UWM recognize that traditional room assignments do not meet the needs of all students,” says University Housing Director Kelly Haag. “Inclusive Housing extends UWM’s mission to develop an environment conducive to cultural, intellectual and experiential learning.”

Inclusive Housing offers an inviting, welcoming space for students who express in their housing applications aspects of their culture or identity that require certain considerations, including (but not limited to) students who identify as gender non-conforming, gay or as an ally.

As part of the self-selection process, incoming students must request an Inclusive Housing assignment through University Housing. Inclusive Housing assignments will be made only upon request by a student.

“UWM was ranked No. 12 in Newsweek’s Daily Beast as a ‘Gay Friendly Campus’ in 2011,” says Jennifer Murray, director of the UWM LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Transgender) Resource Center. “The new Inclusive Housing policy will continue to increase UWM’s ranking in both the Campus Pride Climate Index as well as the TONI Project – two prominent national standards of LGBT+ inclusion in higher education. The new Inclusive Housing policy also supports the university’s Best Place to Work and Best Place to Learn initiatives.”

The policy was approved by campus administrators and administrative units, including Chancellor Michael R. Lovell, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Michael R. Laliberte, the Student Housing Administrative Council and the UWM Student Association.

In addition to UWM’s new policy, other recent UW-System actions include UW-La Crosse’s announcement of inclusive housing within the university’s suite-style residence halls and a new learning community at UW-Madison. “This adoption of inclusivity is a great step for Wisconsin’s educational system and also aligns with best practices being implemented across the nation,” says Murray.