Co-ed dorms: what’s the big deal?

By Ariel Crawford
March 2, 2011

Officials at Rutgers University in New Jersey announced that they will offer co-ed dorms where men and women can room together for sophomores, juniors and seniors starting in Fall 2011. The announcement was made March 1.

About 10 minutes later the world went bonkers. The story immediately surfaced on the internet, local news channels and even national news channels to mixed reactions some of which were over-the-top negative. I personally don’t understand all the outrage.

Yes, couples will room together and yes, they will get into huge arguments and break up right in the middle of the semester. This is a problem but it is their problem and their problem only.

At this point in their lives they’re adults who knew what they were getting into when they signed along the dotted line. Call me an optimist, but I think such an experience might even end up being good for them.

They would have to learn how to share the space and time equally, as well as how to tolerate someone they no longer get along with about which are all skills needed to be successful out in the real world. Coincidentally, all colleges and universities claim they want to prepare their graduates for their lives in the real world after graduation.

Two friends of different genders who live well together shouldn’t suffer because other students rush too far into relationships too quickly. This is also good because it will make students think very carefully about their future decisions.

If a couple is considering living together in college they must be very serious about that relationship. If they can’t last a semester or a year living together, then where is your relationship really going?

A soon to be co-ed Rutgers dorm. Over 25 schools across the country have the option for “gender neutral” housing, including nearby schools like Swarthmore College and Haverford College. --MCT

Maybe now students will learn how hard relationships are, how difficult it is to live with a significant other and that these things shouldn’t be rushed. I’m not saying the divorce rates will drop but you will see some serious thinking going on.

The argument that men and women shouldn’t room together because they may become romantically involved has a huge, gaping flaw. Mostly, because it assumes that only people of the opposite gender become romantically involved.

I’m positive gay men and lesbians have been attending colleges and universities since they opened. That means that for years and years people who may or may not be attracted to each other, whether romantically or sexually, may have been living together in the same room.

So did anything happen because of that? No, it did not. We have yet to see massive drop out rates attributed to it, no one’s head spontaneously exploded and the sun continues to rise in the east and set in the west.

The silliest thing about thinking only two people of the same gender can live together is that it assumes all girls are more compatible with girls and all boys would only be friends with boys.

How absolutely ridiculous! What about girls who get along better with boys? What about boys who feel more comfortable around girls?

It isn’t fair to punish them because they don’t subscribe to society’s standards of their gender and for what their peers may or may not be doing. When all the smoke around co-ed dorms clears the rules are still the same.

In order to co-exist peacefully together rules must be set, responsibilities have to be assigned and compromises will be made. Last time I checked, men and women are both equally capable of doing the aforementioned things.

If students of both genders have roomed together in relative peace for almost a hundred years separately, what is to stop them from doing the same when they are together. It is two people’s personalities, not their genders, which will determine whether or not they can room together.



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Ariel Crawford

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