Colleges to allow co-ed rooms

Colleges to allow co-ed rooms

“Coed rooms make grade: Harvard eyes allowing opposite-sex roommates”

Harvard is considering making its dorm rooms gender-neutral - meaning brainiacs of both sexes would be able to bunk together - a spokesman for the Ivy League university told the Herald yesterday.
“It is something that is on the table,” said Robert Mitchell of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
The debate comes amid a nationwide move toward coed dorm rooms, including a decision Monday by Clark University in Worcester to allow men and women to room together beginning next fall.

So what’s the compelling reason for allowing such things?

“They had a very good rationale,” said Dean of Students Denise Darrigrand. “(The current policy) doesn’t acknowledge the fact that some people are gay. The new policy opens up options for people to live with someone with whom they are compatible. And, given other universities’ experience with this, the reality is men and women who do choose to room together usually aren’t dating.”

Of course, the Clark policy and the proposed Harvard policy don’t limit it to homosexuals rooming with heterosexuals of the opposite sex, thus anything goes. (Not that this is an ideal situation either. It doesn’t pre-empt possible problems.)

So how long before the first charge of roommate rape?

And let’s be honest about why the colleges are going along with this—the same reason they don’t really crack down on partying and drinking—because it’s another selling point to new students. Sex sells, as does booze, and everyone knows that prospective students want a party school.

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  • As someone who graduated two years ago I can tell you this is not a good idea and not just because of the offenses against chastity that would result.

    What about a woman is forced into a room with another guy who is constantly trying to seduce her or worse.  Even if they say the roommates would have to agree, forcing it on is not that far away.  Roommate theft and violence are already problems. 

    As for the remark on opposite-sex roommates not dating, people in my generation rarely date.  There is plenty of risky sex going on without dating.

    Any school that adopts this idea better get some good lawyers now because I’m sure parents and students who end up suffering because of this will be ready to sue without qualms

  • I would assume people would have to opt-in on this. I don’t think many any student, despite not objecting to it, would actually want this. I don’t even think serious couples on campus would entertain this, if you are that serious you’ll just get an apartment off campus.

    Live in co-ed ten years ago, I would live in an all girls dorm if I had to do it again.

  • Yes, Dom, it’s all about having satisfied customers.  On another note, I was speaking with the president of a major Jesuit university recently about the problems of drinking on that school’s campus.  He was very concerned about it, but he had no idea of what to do.

  • infanted: How about banning Drinking and kicking offenders off campus.  That’s what they do at my Son’s school (RIT) where they STRONGLY enforce this policy. 

    It seems the universities and colleges are on the fore front of trying to destroy the moral character of our kids.  This whole “gender-blind” rooming thing is just another cut at it. And yes, I agree, the lawsuits will fly fast, as, even though room mates have to agree to room together, I can see where a young adult would get the wrong idea that also meant permission to sleep together and have sex.  Considering the definition of date rape, this one is a ticking time bomb.

  • CPT, this Jesuit university already has a strict ban on underage drinking.  That doesn’t mean that students don’t do it.  They remain uncaught or they do it off campus.

  • Matt,

    You bring up a good issue regarding crime on campus. Living on campus isn’t a right, I was amazed learning (eventually) learning some of the crimes the people living in my dorms had done. They had no business living with other people in such close quarters. I was safer living in an apartment off campus then with the people down the hall. Criminal behavior as a jeuvenile needs to be revealed to the college for the safety of other residents.

    Interesting just this week UMASS Amhearst students protested the police presence in dorms. Men and women are different. Especially what I witness of non-students visiting students in the dorms. Guys getting drunk saying things “I’m gonna get laid tonight” to any women passing through the hallways.

  • Renee,

    Even sader is that many of these men never grow up and they continue this behavior later in life.  I saw drunk guys on the T one Friday night after visiting some friends.  Based on their looks and attire, I assumed they were young professionals.  They made similiar comments.  Even worse, their were women on the T who were dressed to attract this kind of attention.  I wouldn’t be surprised if they gave these men what they wanted.

    It boggles my mind that “educated” people in this day and age with all the information we have on the negative effects of alcohol abuse and consequences of sex, still manage to act irresponsibly and act like complete morons in the entire process.

  • This is a very evil idea.  So many young women are preyed upon already at universities… if anything, the move should be toward all female and all male dorms, like it was in the past.

  • “I’m sure parents and students who end up suffering because of this will be ready to sue without qualms.”

    Please don’t get my hopes up. I’d LOVE to read about parents suing the living daylights out of these institutions. I want to see these places brought to their knees!!! Maybe they’ll get their heads out of the sky and start applying some comment sense to their policies. But not before they’re brought down a notch in the public square.

  • Unless one went to the expense of single-occupancy rooms and surveillance-enforced curfews,any system of requiring dorm occupants to be of the same sex would have the effect,no matter how unintended,of discriminating against heterosexuals in favor of homosexuals.

  • Sex sells, as does booze, and everyone knows that prospective students want a party school.

    Amem! One of the biggest problems with all the issues discussed is that the monkeys (students) are running the zoo not the zookeepers. Too many colleges no longer remember the most basic meaning of education (educare to lead forth.) Education in its essence is about leading students into, ultimately, the light and prescence of Christ. Schools do not exist to placate the least common denominator or, worse yet, simply to have good statistics in the Princeton Review.

    Major systemic changes are needed in the administration of most colleges for these evils to be stopped. Even if a college has a strong anti-drinking policies and a limited moral intervisitation policy, ultimately who enforces this? Student resident assistants (RAs). RAs are just as likely as the resident students to drink underage have promiscuous sex, etc. They’ll look the other way; encourage a bad example by their own actions and generally see to it that the school’s conduct policies are undermined always and everywhere. So it is hardly suprising that schools have these problems. What needs to happen is for the monkeys to once again be subordinated to the zookeppers.

  • I think that this policy is a good idea for several reasons.

    1.  Some people simply have friends of the opposite sex, this policy will allow them to live together.  For people with specific habits (sleeping in, waking at dawn, etc), finding a roommate with a compatible lifestyle can be extremely important.  Same with passtimes, hobbies, class schedules, or any other facet of college life.

    2.  College is about independence.  People make mistakes choosing roommates all the time in college.  There are some people who simply cannot live together.  College students will also make mistakes like not studying, partying, or playing too many video games.  Part of college, and being independent, is learning to be responsible for your own actions.  Part of that learning process will involve making mistakes and learning from them.

    3.  If college students are going to have sex, they are going to have sex.  Single sex dorms, co-ed dorms, or any other arrangement will not be a huge imposition to overcome.  A college student is, by law, an adult.  If they hadn’t goine to college, they would be working somewhere.  They are free to form whatever relationships and lifestyles they feel comfortable with.  If they believe in celibacy, they will be celibate.  If they believe in promiscuity, they will be promiscuous.  Sex was prevalent on my college campus, and there was no co-ed housing beyond having different floors of the same building be entirely of one sex, and several dorms were all male.  Not even the on-campus apartments were co-ed.  But people would arrange to have willing roommates to unofficially switch rooms, to leave for the night, or any other arrangement they found acceptable.

    4.  If the parents are still paying the bills, then they should have some input into their child’s expenses, and simply not pay for the housing if they don’t like the arrangements.  If they do not know about their child’s living arrangements, it is their responsibility to find out, or live in ignorance.  If the kids are paying their own way (loans, scholarship, savings), then they are truly independent and can make their own decisions.

    5.  Every college I have visited has had privately-owned off-campus housing within walking distance of the campus.  If someone really wants to live with a boyfriend/girlfriend, or simply a friend of the opposite gender, it isn’t hard to arrange.

  • Adam,

    1. As I and others have said, while some people of the opposite sex can live together quite well, the fact is that this is gasoline and rags. Eventually, someone will light the match. Something bad will happen.

    2. College is not about independence. It is about education. Colleges have historically operated in loco parentis (in place of parents) (a role which they have abdicated in recent years) because college was about forming a person not just in intellectual pursuits but also in morals and values. Not anymore, evidently.

    3. Yes, sex always seems to find a way. Just like kids who want to drink will find booze. But the college shouldn’t install minibars in the dorm rooms either. Dorms are not simply apartment houses, they are an extension of the college’s mission; see my reply to point 2 above.

    4. Just because you’re paying to rent a room in my house doesn’t give you the right to demand to do whatever you want in there. I can set rules for behavior under my roof. So can colleges. In addition, shouldn’t concerned parents paying for their kids to live in the dorms have some say about the overall environment?

    5. Yes, there is off-campus housing. If you insist on living with a member of the opposite sex you may do so. No one’s saying you can’t. But the college doesn’t have to endorse it on its own property. On the other hand, many colleges require underclassmen to live on campus, too.

  • We read Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” in my English 101 class (about 200 moons ago) and were assigned to write something just as outrageous.

    Swift’s “Proposal” was a satire suggesting the Irish sell their children to others as food. (

    The most outrageous thing I could think of was this co-ed room scheme.  The logic was that the folks interested in behaving like rabbits would wear each other out and soon flunk out, while those more restrained would still be studious and after a few weeks of things shaking out the situation would calm down.  The prof thought it was so outrageous that she was stunned.  Of course, this was a Catholic college and the prof was a Quaker.  My how old I feel knowing things have changed this much.

  • I just have to add on regarding college and independence.

    College is a lot about indoncrination separating yourself from your parents and the rest of reality. Campus life is pretty much isolated, in many cases universities force freshmen to live on campus and not allow them to have cars while living there. Everything is about campus life, there is no life outside the school and that is the way professors want it.

    Adam, You’ve been fed a line. A line that greatly effects women, I think you should read the post about the book “Unprotected” Dom wrote about regard sex on campus. That is basically my autobiography from ten years ago. I learned quickly what was going on by second semester freshman year. I was taught “You’re going to have sex anyways” as if it uncommited inloving sex was a rite of passage.

    I learned to abstain from situations that could harm me, i.e. the hook culture on campus. It was lonely, but if I had the stregnth to do it after my background in high school I know anyone else can. A year later I met a nice guy (my husband), we met as employees at my part time job (somthing else colleges don’t like).

    My peers both male and female, who were waist deep in “friends with benefits” were so impressed I had a real relationship based on trust and shared values. It was something everyone could see even at the infancy of the relationship of being a healthy one that could lead into marriage. 

    I honestly think most men, even young ones don’t want to engage in the hook-up/friends with benefits culture. Eventually they want to settle down. But men won’t settle down to care and provide for a family until women stop flaunting their goods in the name of sexual freedom.

    Women do have sexual freedom, we get to choose whoever we want to be our husband. That is a great power in which many women have foolishly abused over the past 40 years with the freedom by so carelessly giving it away to any man. I’m glad we don’t have forced or arranged marriage. My parents are great, but they don’t have my tastes and plus it is hard to completely sacrificial to a spouse that you do not love with your whole self.

    Colleges call it sexual and academic freedom, but it was psychological prison. Academics are so watered down in undergraduate studies and grades are so over inflated. I actually had to complain to the dean of my school, because one professor did “nothing” for the whole semester of a required course and gave me a C. I actually was allowed to take the class over with another professor. Sadly a situtation that should to get rid of the professor, she is now tenure. To no one surprise the professor’s concentration was gender studies.

    By the time my peers went off to post-graduate school they had the audacity to complain they were getting too much work. Many of my post-graduate professors complained of the lack of quality new students entering school. We were lazy, unprepared, and had a major attitidue and lack of respect for them. My essay getting into post-graduate school was that undergraduate studies didn’t do their job preparing me for the world.

  • Now that Harvard is doing it, will “Catholic” universites and colleges follow suit?

    They have been imitating Harvard and other Ivy League et al. institutions in things educational, etc. 

    The current policy at many of them is “co-ed” dorms separated by floors or wings, although I do not know what they do in apartment-style dorms with common bathrooms, kitchens, and living-room/study areas.

  • I think we should pass a law requiring mandatory military service for those who turn 18 for a period of two years.  Conscientious objectors and those who fail the physical can choose two years of community service.  Wouldn’t it be better for schools to have students who are of the age 20 rather than 18.  I know Israel and Switzerland require military conscription.  Imagine how fit and disciplined they would be.  This would solve the shortage in the military and the immaturity of many students.

  • From a “good for society” point of view I would agree, but from a military readiness view I don’t. There’s a reason the armed forces don’t like drafts and conscription; because the quality of a conscript army is lower than a volunteer army.

    Note that it is the anti-war, anti-military leftists who are the ones calling for a draft right now. The military has no problems with recruitment or retention; they’ve been hitting their targets consistently.

    However, the idea of a mandatory service that forces young people to grow up is not a bad idea. Maybe something like the Depression-era Conservation Corps.

  • I agree Dom.  I kind of wrote my comment without a lot of thought.

    There are many ways in which this can be done.  I was thinking about what I said and maybe it would be better to leave them with a choice of different services they can choose from with enlistment in the military being one of the choices.  I know the parents in my parish would love the idea.  They would rather have their children grow-up before they pay $40,000 for a year of college when the drop-out rate is high because many students can’t handle their independence.

  • Hi Dom
    Adam was correct & you are way off as regards the purpose of universities.

    1.  The purpose of a university is education NOT bringing anyone to christ, buddha or anyone else.  Most universities are secular and not religious in any case.  Their ONLY goal is to expose students to ideas outside the ones they would normally encounter.  You and most of your posters, it would seem, prefer indoctrination to education.

    2.  The term in loco parentis applies ONLY until the student becomes an adult.  A university, since it is educating ADULTS & NOT CHILDREN has NO in loco parentis responsibility.  Adults are expected to make their own decisions.  That’s what being an adult is all about & 18 is legally an adult like it or not (& I know you don’t).

    3. In one post you say that universities have the right to set rules.  The universities have set rules.  Their rules are just not the ones you like.  Let’s at least be honest Dom.  You want strict rules & the universities don’t! 

    4.  Finally the ONLY way for students to learn maturity is by undertaking the role of a mature person.  People do NOT learn to be mature by being forced to do something.  Both you & father ted are confusing obedience with maturity.  True maturity comes from making choices & taking responsibility for those choices.
      Some people NEVER learn this.  I know quite a few ex-soldiers who are 40 going on 4.  And more than a few 20 year olds who behave more like 30+.  Put simply when are university students going to learn to be adults if they never get the opportunity to run their own lives & make their own mistakes?

    Most students, after a brief bout of hedonism due to lack of parental control stop the partying & get down to serious study.  Put simply they’ve accepted responsibility for their lives & started to run it as they think it should be run.  Now if that includes sex then, as long as they are prepared to accept responsibility for their actions, it is NONE of my business or yours either!

    In closing I would like to ask you & your posters a question if I may.  Let’s say a student goes to uni & pays her own way.  She dilegently studies history & philosophy & engineering.  She does NOT party every night, in deed she prefers study to partying.  But she has thought long & hard about morality & has decided that she can see nothing wrong with living with her lover.  She is 21 years old.  Does the uni have a right to prevent her?  Dictate to her what she can & can’t do?
    I await your reply.

  • This is where you have to take great care in choosing where to live when you have children.  Sound crazy?  I’ve been thinking for a long time that after all I’ve done to raise healthy, sound-thinking Catholic children, how can I possibly send them off to live alone in the agenda-factory called University?  At 18? 

    My answer: I won’t.  I live within 30/45 minutes of some terrific colleges that will do a fine job of giving my children their undergraduate degree…and they can come home after class, which I think is key. That only works if you’re in a convenient location. This makes so much sense to me but I’ll tell you that in my area, I am one of a very small minority who thinks this way – even though all those colleges and universities are within a commutable distance to them, too.  Actually, just about every single one of my friends and neighbors are shipping their kids off to school; seems as it’s too much of a rite of passage to go against the grain.

    If and when it’s time for the grad degree, they will be much, much closer to adulthood and the dangers and pitfalls of living on your own are lessened.

  • In closing I would like to ask you & your posters a question if I may.  Let’s say a student goes to uni & pays her own way.  She dilegently studies history & philosophy & engineering.  She does NOT party every night, in deed she prefers study to partying.  But she has thought long & hard about morality & has decided that she can see nothing wrong with living with her lover.  She is 21 years old.  Does the uni have a right to prevent her?  Dictate to her what she can & can’t do?

    Actually she is more then free to move in and live with her lover, all she has to do is get a married. Most large universities offer housing for married couples.  35 plus years ago, my in-laws were both at Catholic University living in dorms. My MIL was not even 21 years old, she was only 20 and my FIL was 26.

    Guess what they did?

    They got married and the lived with each other and Catholic University didn’t just not do anything about it…. Catholic Univeristy welcomed them living together, just married that’s all and they’re still married.

    86% of all romantic cohabtiation break up within three years. My dorm mates always had personality issues. There were multiple of issues, and isn’t even a sexual relationship. I rememeber all the personality issues throw sex in the mix and university residential directors and assistants are playing divorce court for students.

    Chris most of us have been to college and beyond. My father-in-law is actually a humanities professor for over 30 years.

    A 21 year old woman isn’t that smart and not that moral if she going cohabitate with her lover without marriage, in which she gives up all of her sexual and also economic freedom as they hold joint accounts without any promise from her lover? As a woman I didn’t earn great credit for some guy to mooch off me, because we share the same bed. I could go on and on about young women I know in which their live-in boyfriends were nothing but moochies and worst off they had little recourse except get out and accept the losses. So I don’t know how a 21 year old women benefits from living in with her lover without any promise.

    As I requote myself…

    College is a lot about indoncrination separating yourself from your parents and the rest of reality. Campus life is pretty much isolated, in many cases universities force freshmen to live on campus and not allow them to have cars while living there. Everything is about campus life, there is no life outside the school and that is the way professors want it.


    Basically your argument is we’re dumb, because we believe in God and don’t agree with you.

  • Renee you argue:
    “Actually she is more then free to move in and live with her lover, all she has to do is get a married.” &  you further add “86% of all romantic cohabitation break up within three years.”

    Both points are irrelevant Renee.  In my example an ADULT chose to do something.  Are you saying that the university should overrule an ADULT’S rights because it does not agree with the ADULT’S choices?  You do realize that what you are advocating here is totalitarianism don’t you?

    You would reply universities must have that right because 20 year olds are immature even though they are adults.  So according to your argument immaturity means that you lose your rights as an adult?

      I know many atheists who would argue that believers such as you and I are immature.  That means that under your argument we no longer have rights as an adult.  Have you thought your rather dangerous position through?

    The fact is that neither you, nor I, nor anyone else has the moral right to force another ADULT to do something that they find immoral nor to follow a morality to which they do not subscribe.
    Read both Kant & Mills.  Both had a great deal to say about forcing morality upon others & how bad it was.

    Now let’s talk about law.  According to the law an adult may live their life as they wish provided they do not violate said law.  Imagine your 20 year old daughter leaving home, getting a job & a place to stay & then shacking up with someone.  Would you object?  Of course you would.  Do you have any right to stop her?  Not a one!  She is legally an adult and as such has a right to make of her life what she wills.  A university is in exactly the same position.  They may disagree with the student’s choice but legally it is the ADULT student’s choice to make.  Not mine, not your’s & not the university’s!

  • Finally Renee said: “College is a lot about indoncrination separating yourself from your parents and the rest of reality.”

    Totally wrong I’m afraid.  Go to ANY university site.  You will find nary a word about indoctrination but plenty about education. 

    What is Education?  Education may be defined as the opening of minds to new ideas.  Indoctrination may be defined as the closing of mind and attempting to control the thoughts of those same students.  The two are mutually incompatible

    Indoctrination results in rebels or robots.  Education on the other hand results in thinking individuals.  Now those same thinking individuals may come to conclusions I don’t agree with. They may adopt my ethics as their own or reject my ethics completely.  That’s the chance I take by opening them up to new ideas & by NOT controlling their thinking.  But at least I would know that they would have taken my ethics seriously indeed & thought long & hard about them before rejecting them.  And if those same students accepted my ethics then I would KNOW that they have taken those same ethics seriously & thought about them carefully.  An indoctrinated student on the other hand would merely accept my ethics because they didn’t know they had any other choice.  I know which one I’d prefer.

    By the way Renee you seem to add in your own thoughts into people’s posts.  I have never said, or even implied, that I think people on this board are stupid, merely mistaken.  I am also a believer not an atheist.  There is an old saying “never assume for when you do you make an ASS out of U & ME.”

  • Relax. We’re certainly not living in the 50’s anymore. Mixed dormrooms are quite the rule rather than the exception in many parts of Europe – and it works. You might be surprised to find responsible students fully capable of running a household.

    On a more personal note i am rather perplexed about the fact that American domestic discussions seem to revolve around issues long ago resolved by the rest of the western world.

  • It’s not about “living in the ‘50s” but living in morality.

    And one should not necessarily take pride in having slid to the bottom of the garbage pile first.

  • referring to responsible, self-organizing students as “garbage” is hardly constructive, neither morally acceptable.

  • I’ll assume English is your second language and you just missed the subtlety and didn’t intentionally misread me. Let me make it clear:

    Just because the “rest of the Western world” does something doesn’t make it right. If everyone else jumped off a bridge, would you jump off a bridge.

    A Catholic college that allows cohabitation is facilitating an occasion of sin. Don’t like it? Don’t go to a Catholic college.