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RHA approves coed proposal

Approximately 54 residents, both female and male, will have the option of being placed into 27 two-bedroom suites in the Holly apartments next year, after the Residence Hall Association voted on a proposal for coed rooms Monday night.

RHA’s vote was 30-1 with 5 abstentions.

Andy Festa, president for RHA and author of the proposal, said the same proposal was brought up two years ago, allowing only one of Holly apartments to be coed, but the proposal failed.

“The concern at the time was how to fulfill a vacant room if someone left. Also at that time, all halls had 24-hour visitation and it was just too liberal,” said Festa, who is also The Oracle’s online editor. “So, Dr. Kane said try again in two years.”

Festa decided it needed to be revisited and rewrote the proposal.

The proposal is now asking for each resident to have his or her own bedroom in Holly and possibly the Kosove apartments. The residents can seek privacy if they need it, and since other universities have suite-style, coed rooms, the next step is apartment-style, in which residents will taste more of the real world, the proposal said. This living option is only open to those residents who feel comfortable living with the opposite sex and have lived on campus for one year.

Festa and Joe Nirenberg, vice president for policies and procedures, did some research on what other schools’ living options are.

For example, St. Mary’s College of Maryland and the University of Berkeley allow its halls to share common areas. Wesleyan University in Connecticut has been offering coed suites and doubles since 1995.

Nirenberg said from the studies shown in the articles, students feel more comfortable living with the opposite sex.

“From what I heard, roommate problems are worse with female/female,” Nirenberg said. “And they’re cleaner with the opposite sex.”

Another concern addressed was with the option of living with a significant other.

Jennifer Hack, a senior and an attendee, said she was concerned with Resident Assistants dealing with more problems.

“What happens when the couple breaks up?” Hack said. “Domestic arguments are another thing RAs will have to deal with. Will there be training or interviews for these residents?”

Ric Baker, one of RHA’s advisers said coed living would be considered a “theme,” like leadership-living is a theme, and those RAs would receive extra and special training in this new theme.Lauren Schleenbaker, a freshman and RHA senator, said she thinks there should be coed rooms.

“It allows more opportunities and choices for the residents,” Schleenbaker said. “It is also better for the university to get students to live on campus and stay on campus. Why not?”Schleenbaker said in regards to RAs dealing with more conflicts, that is their job. But she also agrees it should not be open for first-year students.

“RAs are supposed to deal with these issues all day, and I was never interviewed for my roommate,” she said.Some RHA senators brought up the point of parents and their concerns.

“As far as parental consent is concerned, it should be up to the students and their parents,” Nirenberg said. “If parents aren’t paying, the residents shouldn’t have to worry about consent.”The proposal now goes to Tom Kane, director for Residence Services, for approval. If approved it will go up to the administration to be approved, as well.

“I will go up with the proposal as it moves up to explain why RHA voted for it,” Festa said.

Nirenberg said he feels Kane will approve the proposal.

“Let Andy try to fight for it. Dr. Kane was the one who brought it up to us, and I think he wants this to go through,” he said.