Posted by: kulanjiyil | May 5, 2008

MORE CO-ED DORMITORIES

One of the matters that caught my attention this week is the news that some prominent U.S educational institutions, like the Stanford University, are considering co-ed dormitories, where male and female students can share the same dorm rooms in the student housing facilities.

Well, in a cultural context where co-habitation of consenting adults is an established fact of life, one could not find fault with this announcement. It could be argued that two consenting adults of the opposite sex have the right to live together, and it is not anyone’s business to pass judgment on what they do as adults. Nonetheless, one question that comes to my mind is this: Would educational institutions take such a course of action without having convincing reasons? I don’t think so. Unless there has been a fundamental philosophical shift on the part of these educational policy makers such major revisions in policies cannot happen. They might have been convinced that this is the right thing to do, perhaps politically correct too, to keep up with the cultural trends.

Certainly, this is not something new in the country; there are already a few institutions that permit this practice, like Swarthmore College, Antioch College, Ohio University and Haverford College. The significance of this announcement, however, is that it reflects a general trend in our educational system. More schools are likely to follow the suit.

Are there any consequences to co-habitation? The answer depends upon one’s perspective. The advocates of co-ed dorm maintain that only a small percentage of student population request for co-ed dorms, and that so far, no cases of abuse are being reported anywhere in the country. It is further argued that  only a small minority of cultural conservatives object to this change. The opponents of co-ed dorm, on the otherhand,  are concerned about the moral implications of the new regulation. They point out that a co-dom environment that places students in close proximity with the opposite sex can lead them to sexual temptations.  Is this a legitimate concern?

Admittedly, not everyone who chooses to share a room with a friend of the opposite sex would want to engage in a romantic relationship. But can we rule out such possibilities altogether?  Do universities closely moinitor the sexual behaviors of students in their dorms? Because there are no reported cases, are we to conclude that such things are not happening or would not happen? What do our statistics on dating relationships reveal? How is sex viewd in the prevailing youth culture? What is the sexual climate of our schools and universities today? Are there reasons for concern? Shouldn’t we be concerned about such major revisions in our educational policies that may significantly alter the very life-style of students? I leave it for you to deliberate on these important questions as you form your own opinion on this controversial topic.

 

 

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