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Co-Ed Dorm Rooms (SFTS)

Posted by on Mar. 2, 2011 at 8:17 PM
  • 6 Replies


Rutgers Allows Co-ed Dorm Rooms, Parents Freak Out

Posted by Kim Conte
on March 1, 2011 at 5:29 PM

dorm roomIn a move that has stunned -- well, if we're being completely honest -- no one, Rutgers University has announced it will allow male and female undergrads to share rooms in three on-campus residence halls. In addition, men and women will share bathrooms.

Similar gender-neutral housing arrangements are already in place at several other schools including the University of Maryland, Columbia University, and Ohio University. Rutgers is the latest school to follow suit in an effort to make the campus more inclusive for gay students after freshman Tyler Clementi committed suicide last semester.

But some parents aren't so sure they're on board with the idea, especially because the school says it will not allow parents to veto their children's choices.

For the most part, Rutgers students' reactions to the new program -- like this comment from Aaron Lee, a transgender senior -- have been overwhelmingly positive.

I’m really glad they did it, although I wish it wouldn’t have taken as long ... We live in a world where in order to be considered a human being you have to be male or female, and not everyone fits into that kind of binary. It’s important to have spaces where people don’t necessarily have to worry.

But some parents are concerned their heterosexual children might take advantage of the co-ed dorms for "shacking up" purposes with their girlfriends and boyfriends.

Here's how the new mixed-sex housing program will work:

  • Students will get into the dorms as per usual -- i.e. through the student housing lottery.
  • Students will be given the option of naming a roommate of either sex who is supportive of their sexual preference.
  • Students will not be asked to reveal their sexual preference or relationship status with their requested roommate.
  • Parents will not be permitted to veto their children’s roommates.
  • Students of different genders who don't know each other will not be placed together.

For some parents who rest easy knowing their child resides in a same-sex dorm, this new program might be hard to swallow. And, because gay students obviously get bullied both by students of the opposite gender and the same gender, mixed-housing isn't a cure-all for bullying on campus.

But gay advocacy groups say that gender-neutral housing is an important step in making gay students feel safe and welcome on campus by allowing them to choose a roommate -- regardless of gender -- who is supportive of their preference.

What do you think of gender-neutral housing?


by on Mar. 2, 2011 at 8:17 PM
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by on Mar. 2, 2011 at 8:23 PM

I think it is a good idea especially bc of transgender and gay students

 But really for anyone it is fine with me. If my child is a young adult and wanted co gender dorming that would be fine.

It wouldnt phase me

by on Mar. 2, 2011 at 8:24 PM
Honestly, I'm not sure what to think. I definitely see both sides of the argument, but I just don't know how I'd feel until I was in that situation with my kid(s). Our son is only going to be two, so I have several more years before we start thinking about that.
by on Mar. 2, 2011 at 9:22 PM

I don't see what the issue is. 

College students are ADULTS. They should be free to decide who they room with.

In the rare cases where they aren't adults, they shouldn't be rooming with normal students anyway.

by on Mar. 2, 2011 at 9:29 PM

I was 16 when I started college. The college I wanted to go to required freshmen to stay on campus. And, from what I understand, if I wanted to stay in a co-ed dorm, it was my decision and not my parents. The same as it would be for a co-ed room. I can see the definite potential issues that could arise.

by on Mar. 11, 2011 at 2:57 AM

the only issue I can see would be for students under 18, which in college, they wouldn't usually be for long. These 'kids' are adults at least so far as the government is concerned and they get to make their own choices. Living in the dorm is a great time to lengthening those apron strings.

by on Mar. 11, 2011 at 3:55 AM

There have been co gender dorms for decades, why is this an issue all of a sudden now?  If parent's can't handle their adult children growing up and behaving as adults in the real world then they shouldn't be parents at all.  The fact is that out in the real world our kids are going to have to deal with thousands of people who are different from them, whether they are a different gender, culture,color, religion,lifestyle or not.  As parents we need to be able to cope and accept that fact...grow up mom and dad and let your kds do so as well.

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