The College Roommate Revolution
Colleges are allowing opposite sex students to live together, but not for the reason you may think.
That bastion of Ivy League decorum, Rutgers University, has just announced that beginning in the fall of 2011, “gender-neutral” student housing will be available. George Washington University of the District of Colombia and Bowdoin College in Maine will initiate similar policies.
For some parents, this is little more than a euphemism for allowing their 18-year-old daughter to shack up with her boy friend.
Since time in memoriam, “gender-specific” student housing has been the rule. Your dorm mate was the same sex. It was regarded as revolutionary when dorm buildings were divided into female and male floors. Then floors were gender integrated. It was inevitable that individual rooms would follow.
Public opinion is split along generational lines. A recent
Rasmussen Poll reports that 71 percent of adults don’t approve of the gender-neutral arrangement. When you isolate the question to those 21-30 years old, the number drops to one-half. You’d think a lot of people would be sitting on fence; not so, only about five percent are undecided.
Most observers believe that the impetus for co-ed living arrangements comes from the gay community.
Since same sex couples is the norm, what incentive would gays have to promote a gender-neutral policy? Because they feel that someone of the same sex is more likely to be homophobic.
Gay men in particular worry about being paired with a straight male who would be unsympathetic, if not openly hostile, to his sexual orientation. Women, in general, they think, are more accepting. There is statistical evidence to support this conclusion, and the opinion appears to be widely held.
Rutgers may have been considering this change before gay student Tyler Clementi committed suicide last year after his male heterosexual roommate secretly filmed him having sex and posted it online.Continued on the next page