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Housing applications from domestic partners on the rise

STANFORD -- In the second year of its "domestic partners" policy for students, Stanford University has seen a rise in the number of unmarried students living in couples housing.

According to Bill Georges of the University Housing Center, 99 couples have declared themselves to be in established, long-term domestic partnerships, "with a mutual commitment similar to that of marriage." Of those, 93 are opposite-sex partners, six are same-sex partners.

Last year, 60 domestic partners lived in couples housing.

At the same time, the number of students in couples housing who are legally married has dropped, from 355 in fall 1991 to 336 today. A total of 435 students are living in couples apartments on campus this fall, compared to 415 last fall.

The increase of couples in student housing this year has had no adverse impact on single graduate students, Georges said, "as there are a number of vacancies in single graduate housing at this time, primarily in the one-bedroom Escondido Village apartments."

Few single graduate students want to double up in those one-bedroom apartments, he said, and fewer still could afford to live alone in them, paying double rent.

Before the Dean of Student Affairs office made the policy change in fall 1990, joint housing was granted to unmarried Stanford students and their partners on a case-by-case basis (there were four such requests in 1989-90).

The change was praised by Stanford gay and lesbian students and others, who had been working to obtain official benefits for their domestic partners since the mid-1970s. It was opposed by many religious and international students, and by some alumni.

In addition to on-campus housing, domestic partners of students may receive a courtesy card that allows access to libraries, athletic and recreation facilities and some University activities. They also are able to purchase subsidized medical care at Cowell Student Health Service.


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