Editorial: Co-ed dorms: wave of the future

The idea of men and women co-existing in the confines of an apartment has long been controversial. Think back to “Three’s Company,” a 1970s sitcom in which a straight man pretended to be gay to rent an apartment with two of his gal pals. But over the course of the last 40 years, many Americans have come to terms with the fact that men and women are capable of co-habitating happily and safely.

A few liberal East-Coast schools like Haverford College and Wesleyan have jumped on the bandwagon, instituting co-ed on-campus housing for willing students. While these schools may be in the minority, we feel Northeastern should step forward, join the ranks and offer co-ed on-campus apartments.

Students should be allowed to live with the people they believe will make the best roommates, and if the school doesn’t allow them a full range of choices, they are likely to move off campus. West Village H is an entire housing complex specifically for students over the age of 21. It’s not too much to ask the school to consider doing the same for co-ed housing. Even just a floor or two would be a good start. We are, after all, a school focused on being progressive and open-minded, and as such, we should be open to the possibility that men and women can live together just as well as women and women or men and men.

This option may not be practical for freshmen because they usually do not pick their roommates and in most residence halls, use a communal bathroom. However, upperclassmen choose their roommates and should have more choices.

Let’s also not ignore that Northeastern is discriminating against homosexual and transgender students, albeit probably unwittingly. Homosexual students who feel uncomfortable living with heterosexual students of the same sex have no choice but to move off-campus, which can be an expensive and inconvenient process. At Swarthmore College, co-ed on-campus housing was considered mainly for the comfort and consideration of homosexual and transgender students, which was proposed by the Swarthmore Queer Union. To suggest that students of opposite gender cannot live together is suggesting all students are straight. It is not acceptable to assume every student who passes through this school is straight, which this policy does. We have no reason to believe the school is purposefully discriminating against these students, but the administration must realize policies like these are going to have to start changing, and we should be on the forefront.

The school is also building several new housing structures to get students on campus and out of the neighborhoods. Surely allowing students to make more decisions, like what sex of roommate they want to live with, would be an excellent way to coax students back into residence halls.

The world is progressing, and we should step up and join in.

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