Men and women have been attending colleges and universities together for years. However, when it comes to living accommodations, schools have always upheld same sex dorm housing policies. In recent years, though, this practice has slowly begun to change. More and more colleges are now offering students the opportunities to not just choose who they want to be roommates with but their gender as well. The debate over whether coed student housing is a good idea or not continues to rage on but hasn’t stopped schools from making this transition.
There are currently 0ver 50 school campuses which openly allow coed student housing in the dorms. In 2010 alone, 17 campuses were added to the list of those that practice this new trend, which even include Ivy League schools like Yale and Princeton.
So where has this sudden demand come from? Those studying this college trend believe it’s the student themselves, among other factors. Generally speaking, many college students feel it is no longer realistic or necessary to keep male and female students separate when dealing with student housing. By offering the option of living in a coed environment, students have the opportunity to foster friendships and relationships in a new way. Others also point to the fact that some individuals prefer to live with a person of the opposite sex because they feel more comfortable in such an environment. Supporters of gender-neutral housing believe the topic of choosing who you want to live with on campus shouldn’t become a political or bureaucratic process, either. And so far, the schools themselves are in agreement.
Colleges and universities actively offering coed student housing opportunities have found themselves even more appealing to prospective students, while those yet to jump onto the gender-neutral bandwagon are beginning to see the potential benefits of giving their student body what it wants.
Of course, making the move to gender-neutral housing is not completely perfect. Perhaps the most common issue schools and housing staff deal with is the practice of “sexiles.” For those not familiar with this term, it describes the act of shutting a fellow roommate out of the their dorm in order to “hook up” with a date and ensure privacy. Unfortunately, students that have been “sexiled” often find themselves with nowhere to go until their roommate is done with his/her business. Schools have put certain policies in place to try and resolve these issues when they arise but when it comes to living with a member of the opposite sex, the chances of encountering such an awkward situation is likely to be higher.
Students interested in pursuing this option–sexiles or not–have a fair share of schools to choose from, which include but are not limited to:
- University of Pennsylvania
- California Institute of Technology
- Brown University
- Clark University
- Oberlin College
- Rutgers University
- Ohio University
- UC Riverside
It is important for students to do their homework on the schools offering gender-neutral housing accommodations. Taking a tour of the housing facilities is a must, as is talking to not just the housing staff but current students living with coed roommates.