The registration process for fall housing is around the corner, but the decision to have coed rooms in Holly and Kosove apartments will have to wait until at least next year.
A week ago, the Residence Hall Association passed a proposal to have coed rooms in Holly and Kosove. Coed means having males and females living in the same apartment unit, only with separate rooms not by separate floors.
The proposal since then has been sent to Tom Kane, director for Residence Services, who said he has yet to decide whether to approve the proposal.
“I don’t see how this proposal will be ready for next year,” Kane said. “I read it, but I am trying to stay neutral until I hear other people’s thoughts and hear the pros and cons.”
Kane said that he has not yet reviewed the entire proposal but still needs to give it more thought.
Kane said he has asked the Residence Services staff for input on the coed proposal.
“I have given copies out of the proposal to my staff to look at,” Kane said. “I assume that in the next couple weeks we will meet and go over the proposal.”
RHA had written a proposal asking for the university to consider having coed rooms. The coed rooms were originally going to affect only the 27 two-bedroom apartments in Holly, but RHA senators voted to amend the proposal to include Kosove’s four two-bedrooms apartments. This would allow 62 residents to have the option of living coed but would only allow students who have lived on campus for at least one year to be able to apply for the living option.
Andy Festa, president for RHA and author of the proposal, said at the meeting last week he would stand by the proposal as it moved up the chain of command.
Festa said originally RHA had hoped the coed proposal would go into effect in the fall, yet they knew that it might have been too late.
“We went with the assumption that if not this year, then the next,” Festa said.
Kane said this is a process he wants to make sure is reviewed carefully. He will meet with his staff, and then, if he approves the proposal, he will send it to Wilma Henry, associate vice president for Student Life and Wellness. If approved by Henry, it would go to Harold Nixon, vice president of Student Affairs and then to USF President Judy Genshaft.
“This proposal is calls for good coordination in order for it to be successful,” Kane said. “We want to make sure it’s a good idea to bring it up through the chain of command and not have it stop somewhere down the line.”
In the past week, RHA has been sitting outside Crossroads CafÃ© getting petitions signed, answering residents’ questions and helping them better understand the proposal.
“I believe that the petitions will help us in the long run but are part of a process we are doing,” said Festa, who is also The Oracle’s online editor.
Kane said he doesn’t take petitions into consideration because anyone could sign them, and people will sign anything. It would be more interesting if someone came and gave money and a down payment to live coed up-front, Kane said.
When asked about a hypothetical situation involving a student who is re-registering for a two-bedroom or a couple opting for the coed living in that same two-bedroom, Kane said the first priority, as it stands now, would go to the current residents. That may change in a year, but it is still too early, he said.
“This is one of the more troubling things about the proposal,” Kane said.
Kane doesn’t know how the process would work as far as signing up for the option or getting a room.
“So far we are in the beginning of this proposal,” he said. Kane said that when the coed proposal came up two years ago, the university had just approved and implemented coed floors in the residence halls. Coed floors started about four years ago, but had a three-year phase-in plan. This meant that each year
Residence Services added approximately one-third of females and males to every hall each year. This was the first year that all dorms, except three that house only women, have been fully coed for an entire year.
“This is something that we will have to look at, stop and evaluate what needs to be done, what to adapt, or to move forward or backward,” Kane said.
Festa said along with the petitions, he is receiving both sides of the story from the residents.
“It’s not so much about the signatures,” Festa said. “We are talking to the residents, and it will be beneficial to RHA as the proposal goes up.”