BOSTON – While many students spent their winter breaks relaxing at home with their families and friends after a semester of strenuous work, Boston University Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore (SED’87) developed a PowerPoint Presentation explaining why the university should not have gender-neutral housing.
Gender-neutral housing, an optional housing service that provides safe haven to students who do not associate with standardized gender roles, is a growing trend on college campuses. Harvard College, Vassar College, and New York University are among many other colleges as distinguished as Boston University that have provided gender-neutral housing for years instead of living by centuries-old standards of dormitory housing.
Dean Elmore’s PowerPoint, entitled “Playing by the Old Rules in A New Era: Getting the Word Out Against Gender Neutral Housing,” includes many engaging features. One slide features a graph displaying the number of students who are affected by lack of gender-neutral housing with 100% written next to it to indicate the number of them that will be ignored.
On the next slide, Dean Elmore shows various quotes from the student-made gender-neutral housing petition and then makes them dissolve away into little cubes using one of PowerPoint’s many dynamic animations. A few slides later, a picture of students from the Gender Neutral BU campaign submitting their appeal for gender-neutral housing is juxtaposed by a ClipArt of a cartoon man laughing.
Dean Elmore has created many popular PowerPoint presentations in the past, covering an array of topics he believes in: the importance of a liberal arts education, Martin Luther King’s effect on humanity, and social media’s dynamic influence on the world are some examples. “I hope the PowerPoint helps to explain why not all students should be held to the same safety and regard as the majority,” Dean Elmore explained. “Students respond more to technology, so this will get them on board with my cause.”
According to the Dean of Students Office mission statement (located prominently on their website), the mission of the Dean of Students is to, “enhance the quality, character and perspectives of [their] students. Through [Dean Elmore’s office, the Division of Student Affairs’s] many orientation, mentoring, and counseling programs, the Division promotes an environment that encourages intellectual exchange and individual expression. [The Division offers] these programs and a rich residential environment where students can interact with each other, faculty, staff, and other adults”.
Despite the fact that the denial of gender-neutral housing violates practically every word of his mission statement, Dean Elmore seemed indifferent.
“Yeah, we’re going to have to change [the mission statement],” he stated. “Especially the part about the rich residential environment. Students asking for gender-neutral housing get the complete opposite of that part. Somebody should delete that whole line.”
As the Dean of Students Office changes the wording of its core beliefs, the students stuck in the middle of this dilemma – those who were depending on gender-neutral housing being instated in the spring semester – are forced to continue living in a fearful or uncomfortable living situation during their short and expensive time at Boston University.
When asked for comment by Bunion reporters, BU President Robert Brown called the police.