The college visits just keep on coming around here. Now that the admissions clock is ticking, SuzyQ has been trying to get a look at the last few contenders before she begins applying to schools. We have visited colleges in New England, the South, and the mid-Atlantic. It doesn’t matter where you go, though. It seems that coed dorms are all the rage. Some schools even allow coed dorm rooms. And coed bathrooms!
Am I really the only one who has a problem with this?? When your teen nephews come to visit your house, do you tell them to share the room with your daughter for the weekend? Are you an advocate of unisex locker rooms at the gym? No? Then why is it not only OK but “healthy” or “normal” to house college students in so-called gender-neutral residence halls? As I was doing some research on the subject, I came across this comment attached to a post on the subject on the Modestly Yours blog:
At rice university (my school) the last floors of single sex housing were eliminated. Typically those floors were stereotyped as prudish and downright strange.
The Rice policy for housing new students is to have single sex rooms but not single sex floors. I know of one incident of a mixed room. They got parental and administrative permission to do so. It has worked well for them.
My parents were actually happier to know I was living next to a room of men. They percieved it as safer to have that type of rescource.
I love my co-ed living experience. I really think with few execptions that we now live in a co-ed world and that it is appropriate for students to learn the realities of gender interaction in college. (Emphasis mine, spelling errors hers.)
Umm..where to begin with this? So, those who wanted to live in single-sex housing were strange and prudes for desiring some privacy and modesty. Some parents actually believe their daughters are safer living with men in the room next door? And apparently, residence halls–not classrooms, labs, or the dining hall– are the best place to learn about gender interaction. Oh, how successful the brain-washing operation has been. The kids are not confined by gender identities or concerned about keeping any part of their life private from the opposite sex. Even the parents are so “totally cool” with their kids’ shacking up, that they will even pay for it.
Guess what else I found out in my research. The Journal of American College Health published the results of a study on the impact of co-ed living in 2009. I know it’s hard to believe, but the study found that students living in coed housing tend to engage more frequently in risky behaviors such as binge drinking and having multiple sexual partners. Shocking, right? I can hear the arguments already: “Segregating boys from girls isn’t going to stop drinking and hooking up.” “Student are going to do those things anyway, whether they have to go across the hall or across campus.” Basically, it’s the same as the old let-the-underage-teens-drink-at-home routine parents used to justify keg parties in their basement for their high school son and daughters.
There is a whole lot one can argue against gender neutral housing. A big one for starters is the way it has become only fair in order to make homosexual or transgender students more comfortable. Then there’s the vehement opposition to anything that might impose some morality on anyone. But let’s keep things simple. What about the plain old yuck factor?? Cap’n Handy (formerly known as Darling Husband) likes to point out that men’s restrooms are vile and disgusting places. In an informal poll of teenage boys in my cul-de-sac I came up with absolutely no neat freaks; their rooms are all bio-hazard disaster areas. And girls, don’t you want an guy-free area at least part of the day? You know, when you don’t have to feel even remotely like it’s “game on?” The same could be said for guys.
Yes, I am a prude about this. I really do see value in segregating the sexes in college housing. It makes a lot more sense than letting the green-police students have a dorm all to themselves (like the Earth House at Connecticut College). And the idea that colleges will take my $50K a year and then tsk-tsk at my unfortunate, stone-age morality is down right insulting.