Old Barrows Safe Housing Mission Statement

A membership selection committee will review your application. Your name will not be revealed to the committee. All decisions made by the selection committee are final.


Old Barrows housing co-op was previously an informal safe space where the first eight “female” people accepted into the house each year chose the gender makeup of the house. It is now an established safe space for women and trans people of all genders. This change was made due to students stating a need for a static safe space in OSCA that would remain in place over the years.

Old Barrows co-op is a member of the Oberlin Student Cooperative Association (OSCA). Many of the policies of Old Barrows housing co-op were inspired by Third World Co-op, another co-op in OSCA. Members accepted into Old Barrows housing co-op are automatically placed in Old Barrows dining co-op.

Cisgender person: someone whose gender matches the gender they were assigned at birth.

Trans person: someone whose gender differs from the gender they were assigned at birth.

Safe Space: From the MRC: “Safe spaces are spaces that are created of, by and for members of marginalized or underrepresented social groupings who share common (or similar) histories and experiences, and/or are routinely subjected to and similarly impacted by socioeconomic, cultural, political and other societal hierarchies and oppression. Safe spaces are generally identity and/or issue-experience based.”

The words “women” and “woman” include anyone who identifies as a woman.


Old Barrows housing serves these purposes:

  1. To serve as a safe space for students who feel oppressed due to their gender. This safe space primarily serves trans people of all genders, with priority given to trans women and trans feminine people. Priority is next given to gender nonconforming people and other trans people (including non-binary people), and then to cis women.
  2. To be inclusive of members who have been traditionally and structurally disenfranchised from OSCA, such as international students, people of color, people with disabilities, people with financial need, and/or non-native English speakers, as well as students who identify as queer and/or intersex.
  3. To provide a space in which members feel safe educating and challenging each other in a positive, constructive manner.
  4. To work with other housing safe spaces on campuses, such as Baldwin Cottage (Women and Trans* Collective) and Price (Third World Program House).
  5. To acquaint members with conscientious cooperative work.

The members may choose to hold programs that educate others about topics that include misogyny, cissexism, and transmisogyny. However, this space does not exist for the purpose of educating other people about oppression.

Members of Old Barrows safe housing space do not have to reapply each academic year in order to continue being in the housing co-op if they have lived in the co-op in the previous semester. Membership expires after a member does not live in Old Barrows for a semester, and they must reapply to become a member if they wish to live in Old Barrows again.