About half of the students moving into residences at Ryerson University this weekend will do so without having specified their gender on their applications, meaning that they could be assigned a room with roommates of a different gender identity.

Ryerson University changed its residence policy for this school year to make the inclusion of an applicant’s gender on a housing application voluntary. Under the new rules, those applying for housing can either choose all-gender housing or specify their gender and, if they choose, indicate a preference to be paired with roommates of the same gender.

It should be noted that 95 per cent of the bedrooms in Ryerson’s residences are single-occupancy, though 68 per cent of those bedrooms share a bathroom with other bedrooms.

In a post on Ryerson’s website, the school’s director of housing and residence life explained that the policy change has been implemented to create a more inclusionary environment for students.

“People come from everywhere and have different journeys and I think it's important any time we can take something that has traditionally been structured to put people in boxes and open up those boxes. That creates a huge sense of empowerment for those who might otherwise have been marginalized,” Ian Crookshank said.

Ryerson University’s Housing and Residence Life department decided to change their policy on residence room assignments following a meeting with the Trans Collective, which is a group that provides advocacy and support for trans people on campus.

Crookshank said that change should have little noticeable impact on the makeup of residences but could make some students feel more comfortable.

“As we’re changing the structure, what we’re seeing is that students really are saying, ‘For the most part, we don’t care’—which to me says there was a whole group of students that were probably uncomfortable with the old model who might actually be more comfortable with the new model,” he said.

Students will begin moving into Ryerson University residences on Saturday.