Open Housing FAQs
- What is Open Housing?
- What type of restrooms will be available to students who live in an Open Housing arrangement?
- Am I eligible to participate in Open Housing?
- Is Open Housing available only to students who identify as LGBTQ?
- What if I prefer to have a same-sex roommate?
- Can I elect to live with my romantic partner?
- How do I opt into an Open Housing assignment?
- What happens if I do not have a roommate chosen in advance?
- When can I sign up?
- Will my residence hall choices be limited if I participate in Open Housing?
- What if my roommate and/or I are not satisfied with our Open Housing arrangement?
- Will my parents find out if I select to live in Open Housing?
- Who can I call if I have questions about Open Housing?
'Open Housing' refers to an arrangement whereby two students, regardless of sex, gender, or gender identity, are permitted to share a room in Columbia's residence halls. The primary reason for such a policy is to provide housing options that take into consideration varying identities and preferences, and to ensure a safe and comfortable environment for all students. Open Housing is not intended and in fact is highly discouraged for romantic couples.
East Campus, Ruggles, 47 Claremont, Woodbridge, and 600 West 113th Street, as suite style residence halls, have their own bathrooms. Like those that are already mixed-sex suites, they will have shared bathrooms. Wien, a corridor style residence hall, has male and female designated bathrooms in addition to one private, single use bathroom on each floor.
Any rising sophomore, junior, or senior in CC or SEAS (who is also at least 18 years of age and guaranteed housing) may request to participate in Open Housing in any of the upperclass residence halls (first-year residence halls are excluded). The option is also available to Barnard students who are at least 18 years of age and guaranteed housing in the buildings that are part of the CU/BC exchange, specifically: East Campus, 47 Claremont, and Ruggles. This option is not available to incoming students, including first-year, combined plan, and transfer.
No. Although one of the goals of Open Housing is to address tensions often felt by queer and transgender students in finding a compatible roommate, Open Housing exists to allow any two friends to live together, regardless of sex, gender, and gender identity.
Open Housing allows any two students to be roommates, regardless of sex, gender, and gender identity. Any students can seek housing in any of the upperclass residence halls. We will also continue to offer female-only floors.
Like most universities, Columbia discourages students who are in a romantic relationship, regardless of sex, gender, and gender identity, from living together in a residence hall. But, we do not question any student's reasoning for wanting to live in Open Housing.
Open Housing follows the same process as standard room selection process. Students sign up for In-Person Group Selection with one or more friends to select into corridor-style doubles or suites in any of the upperclass residence halls.
Just as in the standard room selection process, students who are not able to find a suite (or roommate, as the case may be) would drop down into the Online Selection process. Online Selection cannot guarantee any specific type of housing, and students will not be able to select the Open Housing option once in Online Selection.
Applicants must fill the room(s) and/or all beds in the suite being requested to full capacity, i.e., there must be an eligible student applying for every bed in the room(s) and/or suite. If this is not the case, you will be considered in the Online Selection process, where Open Housing is not an option.
You must apply with your prospective roommate(s)/suitemate(s) following the same deadlines as all students entering the room selection process.
Students seeking to participate in Open Housing can reside in any of the upperclass residence halls (first-year residence halls are excluded).
The standard room transfer process will be utilized in all residence halls, whether or not you are participating in Open Housing. Please visit the Transfer or Exchange of Assignment section of the Guide to Living for more information on this process.
Students in Open Housing can also engage directly with a member of the Residential Programs staff about roommate difficulties and/or a desire to receive a room reassignment. Please call the main line of Residential Programs at (212)854-6805 to establish direct contact with the appropriate Associate Director and schedule an appointment.
If a roommate/suitemate cancels their housing or moves out of the room for any reason, the remaining roommates must identify a new roommate to fill the vacancy. The Housing Office will define the time allocated to find a new roommate. This window of time will vary depending on time of year and the status of the housing waitlist. Typically, a resident will be allowed a minimum of 24 hours, but not more than one week to identify another eligible roommate. If another roommate(s) is not identified within the time period, that room(s) will revert to a same-sex assignment, to be filled by housing.
It is your choice if you want to tell your parents or guardian about your decision to live in an Open Housing option. As with all housing decisions, Columbia Housing and the Office of Residential Programs encourage you to talk with your parent(s) or guardian about your housing choice. Your parents will not be notified by Columbia about your decision to live in Open Housing.
Current students should contact Columbia Housing if they have questions about the room selection process (212.854.2775). Current students may contact the Community Development team with questions or concerns regarding the Open Housing policy (212.854.1836).
For a listing of gender-neutral restrooms on campus, please view our interactive map.