Going away to college can be a very exciting, but daunting prospect. Aside from getting the classes of your choice and trying to pick a major, one of the scariest things about living away from home is having a roommate.

Choosing the perfect roommate can be tricky. Unless you’re heading to the same college as a friend, most likely you’ll be paired with someone you don’t know. For many, the thought of sharing such a small space with a stranger is alarming, not only because they don’t know each other, but also because they may be judged because of their sexuality.

In the wake of Tyler Clementi’s suicide last year, Rutgers University recently announced it will allow its students in three dormitories to live with roommates of the opposite sex.

Although co-ed dormitories have been commonplace at most colleges, the majority of universities still group roommates by gender. However, Rutgers thinks the change will foster a more tolerant environment for its gay, lesbian, and transgender students.

Everyone is not cool with Rutgers’ announcement, however. Some parents worry that their heterosexual kids may take advantage of the university’s new policy and will use it to shack up with their partners. But the university says that’s too bad.

Rutgers’ gender-neutral housing options will be available to all students through a lottery and parents cannot opt-out of the program for their kids if the student decides to participate in the program.

Students in gender-neutral dorms can live with their significant other or platonic friends of the opposite sex (and yes, bathrooms will also be co-ed) if they so choose.

Rutgers is not the only university to roll out such a program. The University of Maryland, Columbia University and George Washington University all have similar housing options for its students.

What do you think? Are co-ed dorm rooms a good idea? You tell us!

 

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  • Domino

    They will be [email protected] each other whether there are co ed dorms or not.

  • I’m for LGBT intrest housing not co-ed… Because when it comes to co-ed, issues of sexual harassment and assault come into play and that can be avoided. Also if students who actually need co-ed housing for means of safety are put in a lottery to compete for accommodations they actually NEED they risk being left out of a program that was made for them.

    • Alexandra

      “issues of sexual harassment and assault come into play”

      That was seriously the first thing that popped up in my head once I read the headline.
      I also agree with Domino too; kids are gonna do, what they wanna do.

  • EmpressDivine

    I don’t understand how Co-Ed dorms will stop people from bullying LGBT people. All women aren’t tolerant and accepting of gay men and all men certainly are not trying to be friends with lesbians unless they plan on fulfilling a male fantasy. When you bring transgenders into the picture it’ll get all twisted. I think LGBT housing is the best way to go but you still have to think about the kids who aren’t out yet. The Rutger’s guy wasn’t out the closet. I believe that’s part of the reason for him killing himself in the first place.

  • Parker

    First of all, it’s “transgender people” or “transgender individuals,” not “transgenders.” Transgender people are PEOPLE, not some kind of thing we talk about objectively. Gender neutral housing is something that can make or break a transgender person’s college choice. Many transgender students don’t feel safe or comfortable in a dormitory that forces a gender binary on people.

    Frankly, I think it’s cissexual and cisgender privilege that makes people think gender-neutral housing is a bad idea. Men and women can live together with no problems, and they very often do. The majority of kids in college are not sexual predators, and frankly, putting a man and a woman in a room together isn’t going to guarantee rape or assault or harassment, and separating men and women isn’t going to guarantee their safety, either. If someone wants to commit rape, a little “NO MEN” sign on a door isn’t going to prevent it, people.

    Furthermore, creating separate housing for LGBT students will do nothing but Other those students: “You’re LGBT, so we’re placing you in a dorm away from these other NORMAL, STRAIGHT/CISGENDER students.” LGBT-specific dorms can out people as well- if you’re in the closet, you don’t want your friends to know that you sleep in the queer dorms over there. That’ll out people.

    My point is, separating people based on gender isn’t going to prevent assault or rape or harassment, and separating people based on gender identity or sexual orientation is ridiculous and going right back to the whole, “separate but equal, except not really equal” thing. Gender neutral housing is an important thing to lots of people, especially those who fall outside of the gender binary (which is much more common than people think). It’s important.

  • MI

    Wow! That’s f*cking retarded! How the hell is that going to make people more tolerant? I mean, sure, it’s ok to have co-ed dorms but not no opposite sex roommate! What the hell?! Still, sexual assault and abuse can happen in any situation, whether the roommate is the opposite sex or the same sex. I live in a co-ed dorm right now and people are shacking up all the time. Thankfully, we don’t all share the same bathroom or that’d be trouble. But if I had a male roommate, it would probably be trouble. I mean, he might hit on me or I might get back from a drunk night and we’d sleep together or some ish like that. This is not going to stop GLBT bullying.