Cornell University students can now choose to live with a roommate of the opposite gender through the campus housing lottery, The Cornell Daily Sun reported. Cornell president David Skorton and Student Assembly passed a resolution to adopt the gender-inclusive housing policy in October. So far, 87 of the 3,340 students currently registered in the housing lottery indicated an interest in the new residential option. The program is expected to improve student understanding of gender and sexuality, but is not exclusively geared toward the LGBT community. Students living in program houses, language houses, University co-ops or on West Campus can elect this option beginning in spring 2013. Cornell will be the first school to have a computer application with this option, as most schools use hand-written gender neutral housing applications. Cornell may set another precedent by introducing random housing selection, through which students will not be able to choose their roommates or suitemates.
In a student election earlier this week, 93 percent of students at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government voted on a proposal to appropriate 0.1 percent of the university's $30.7 billion endowment to a new social choice fund, The Harvard Crimson reported. The fund will be created on July 1, but the university has not yet decided whether to appropriate any of its endowment to the fund. Approximately half of the 1,000 students at the Kennedy School voted in the election. A similar referendum was approved during a November election held by the Responsible Investment at Harvard Coalition.
The American Association of University Professors published a report stating that faculty members should play a more influential role in dealing with sexual assault on college campuses than university staff members or law-enforcement officials, The Chronicle of Education reported. Although students sometimes notify professors of sexual assault incidents, professors are not obligated to report alleged cases to the authorities under the Clery Act. Professors should be familiar with institutional policies and help victims navigate resources, the report says. The report includes 12 recommendations for universities to improve sexual assault policies, including defining sex crimes more clearly, collaborating with local authorities and publicizing incident reporting procedures. In light of the Yale University sexual assault investigation and 2011 publication of the "Dear Colleague" letter by the Department of Education, universities have increasingly modified their sexual assault policies.