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Posted at 9:52 AM ET, 03/16/2010

Latest college trend: Mixed-gender dorm rooms

By Valerie Strauss

It was only a matter of time: Males and females are sharing dorm rooms at about 50 colleges and universities around the country.

This story in the Los Angeles Times says that the practice, called gender-neutral housing, is gaining acceptance as the latest step in the evolution of dormitory living.

Single-sex dorms gave way to coed residence halls in the 1970s, though at that time the genders had their own floors. Coed hallways and bathrooms came next, and now, this.

About 50 schools allow the practice, including Stanford, Cornell, Dartmouth, Columbia, Haverford, Wesleyan, the University of Michigan, Sarah Lawrence and a number of California schools, including Pitzer and Harvey Mudd colleges, the University of California at Berkeley and the University of California at Riverside. Wheaton College in Massachusetts approved the practice a few months ago, according to the National Student Genderblind Campaign.

The genderblind campaign was started to help gay, bisexual and transgender students who wanted to live with a member of the opposite sex, but there are heterosexuals of both genders who share the same room now too, as platonic roommates.

The campaign’s Web site has a video showing Columbia University students on Fox News arguing in favor of the policy. At Northeastern University, senior Emilia Dunham discusses her continuing campaign there.

She tells about how, when the proposal reached the Student Government Association, “There was significant opposition from most...SGA representatives and administrators due to cultural and logistical questions.”

What do you think? What is the policy at your school, or your child’s school?


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By Valerie Strauss  | March 16, 2010; 9:52 AM ET
Categories:  College Life  | Tags:  college dorm, college life  
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My university started this about 6 years ago during my final year. I don't see any issues with it; college kids are going to hook up, whether they live together or not.

Posted by: reiflame1 | March 16, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Mine did this in 2005; not a big deal. And honestly if you're concerned about hookups, I assume that you're thinking that there are no lesbian or gay students who moved in with their girlfriends and boyfriends ever? Puh-leeze.

Most of the mixed-gender roommates I knew actually *weren't* romantically involved, anyway.

Two things though that I think made this far less incendiary at my school: it was opt-in, not opt-out (as in, you had to say "I want to live with someone of the opposite sex" or else you were placed alone or with others of the same sex) and this option was not available to first-years so at least in theory you knew your roomie going in.

Posted by: | March 16, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

I like the idea of this, I think it's really good as long as both options are available. I am in university right now and I'm living at home. One of the reasons I opted not to live in residence is because of the fact that the university would not have allowed me to have roommates of the opposite sex (its a policy), whom I not only like more, but get along with much better.

Posted by: Wander099 | March 16, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

The gang showers in the dorm of my old school would certainly have been interesting.
However, given the proper facilities - who cares.

Posted by: wonderingstevie | March 17, 2010 12:01 AM | Report abuse

Another lousy idea from the great minds in the ed biz. Folks, leave well enough alone. And spare us your one-sided propaganda video. And why cater to homosexuals or whatever the trans people are calling themselves this week. Enough already!!!

Posted by: rrbill1 | March 18, 2010 8:37 AM | Report abuse

So why didn't the writer mention that research indicates that where ever these mixed sex dorm and shower campuses spring up drinking goes up, abortions go up, rape goes up, sexual assault, out of wed lock pregnancy, and dropouts go up along with it.

It's one of those things the liberal minded like to fail to mention because they want to believe and want you to believe that it's all benign and harmless and it simply is not so.

There is also always failure to mention that many of the heterosexual students feel uncomfortable with a gay student who may only be claiming to be so to get into the the dorms of the sex they are really attracted too. How does one prove they are gay and therefore uninterested in the opposite sex, or not bisexual?

This swings both ways of coarse. I had a gay roommate who routinely preyed on the weak. I would call it predatory he called it training the weak minded, lonely, and unsure into being his sexual toys. Just like a leech who preys on women there are gay men and women who do the same thing only it's not PC to acknowledge it or admit to it. Otherwise we'd have to admit that gays just like everyone else are not perfect, ethical or morale any more or less than the general population. You don't have to be straight to molest, or straight to rape either.

It's however on many campuses it only counts if your'e a straight male to be an aggressor, predator or rapist. We routinely fail to recognize female or gay aggressors as molesters and rapists and they know it and take advantage of these open dorms because they know no one will accuse or go after them. It's a free for all candy store for predators.

Posted by: carbonware | March 19, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

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