Another Catholic college goes to co-ed dorms

Another Catholic college goes to co-ed dorms

“St. Anselm moves to co-ed dorms”

For the first time in its 118-year history, St. Anselm College will offer male and female students the option of living in the same dormitory.

Administrators at the Benedictine college say bulging enrollment the past several years has left few logistical options and, mirroring a national trend, more females than males are enrolling.

Next fall, three dorms—Brady Hall, St. Mary Hall and Building M—will be home to both men and women, affecting about 160 students, or a 10th of the students living on campus.

“It gives us some flexibility,” said the Rev. Jonathan DeFelice, St. Anselm president.

Alumnae say this is another step down the path along which St. Anselm, which is in Manchester, NH, goes from being a Catholic college to “a college in the Catholic tradition.” The next step, they say, will be loosening of the rules concerning visitation. DeFelice says that’s balderdash, that the rules aren’t going to change.

Would the good Father care to make a wager on that?

Kathleen Reilly, a senior, said she wishes the housing change had been made years ago. Rules in place now, she said, restrict study time as well as socializing, and often the best study partner for a class is a member of the opposite sex.

Tom Gunning, a junior, endorsed co-ed dorms as a mechanism to bring his own gender into line.

“In an all-boys dorm, it kind of gets out of control,” he said.

DeFelice said the housing switch isn’t all about logistics. The ability to offer more socialization options, in part to combat what Gunning describes, played a role in the move, said the president.

Ah yes, more socializing is what they need. Better study partner opportunities. Is anyone dumb enough to actually believe this stuff?

We know what it’s about: The competition among Catholics to bring in the best and brightest students is tough and so, in order to be more appealing to a generation that grew up thinking that college is one big opportunity to party and go wild, you have to loosen the rules and wink at what everyone knows is going on and going to be going on.

Catholic parents who are actually concerned about the moral environment that their children are formed in should take notice.

(Incidentally, Patrick Reilly, president of the Cardinal Newman Society, wrote an article in the March 2003 issue of Catholic World Report, entitled “Are Catholic Colleges Leading Students Astray?”, which included data from a study that showed that kids were less likely to graduate from Catholic colleges as practicing Catholic than if they went to secular or non-Catholic colleges.)

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli