The Coed Dorm Debate Rages On
LGBT students want it. Girls with gay BFFs want it. Heck, even siblings want to do it. Coed dorms have become such a big deal, some of the most well-known schools around the country are now offering it, including UC Riverside and Berkeley, Stanford, Cornell, Dartmouth, Sarah Lawrence, Haverford, Wesleyan and the University of Michigan. With over 50 major colleges on board with the notion, why does this issue still garner a huge article in the Los Angeles Times and numerous soundbites on the evening news? Answer: The program isn't without its detractors.
Issue #1: Sex and Dating
You and your boyfriend are totally into each other, you decide to move in together, and then then three months later it's over. Why should it be the school's responsibility to find you new digs? While this fear certainly isn't a dealbreaker, it does beg the question: Can college students actually be trusted to make mature decisions about housing when their horomones are running amok?
Issue #2: Safety
It's bad enough you have to move in freshman year and have your roommate picked for you, but what if that boy or girl wasn't exactly right in the head? Those that are against coed housing claim the number of rapes and assaults on campuses will rise if students are allowed to live together unsupervised. While there's been no evidence of that so far, it's bound to eventually happen, at which point colleges could be facing lawsuits and multi-million dollar payouts to students and parents.
Issue #3 Politics
How to you court conservative donors and parents if your school policies appear really liberal or downright too progressive for anyone over the age of 50? Everyone from school administrators right on down to your friendly neighborhood R.A. will be forced to walk a fine line if coed dorms become the norm. Example: Susie and her parents decide to send her to College A because it has seperate dorms for boys and girls. Suddenly, College A opens the floodgates and allows male and female students to room together. Susie may be fine with it, but her parents definitely aren't and constantly harassing anyone and everyone and threatening to go to the board and make a fuss with other parents.
There are no right or wrong answers to any of these issues, but it seems very clear that strict perimeters need to be adopted before coed dorm rooms become the norm. Living with the opposite sex may sound great, but living in a room with them the size of a shoebox might not be exactly the college experience you were seeking or sighned up for.
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