Some University administrators feel co-ed housing would be beneficial to students, but also think it’s unlikely such policies will be implemented despite national trends.
More than 30 college campuses across the country have already adopted a policy of assigning coed roommates in student housing, according to a recent article in the Boston Globe.
This policy, which University administrators are calling “gender neutral” housing, appears to be a growing trend around the country, with almost half of these universities adopting the policy in the last two years.
The concept is rooted in the idea that the current generation of students is more relaxed when it comes to gender relations.
Regina Young Hyatt, associate dean of students at USF, said she felt gender-neutral housing would aid in a student’s personal development while attending the University.
“I would say that, in terms of a student’s sexual identity, there is some evidence to suggest that allowing non-gendered housing is supportive of a student’s identity development,” she said.
Young Hyatt also said because it is a relatively new concept there has not been a lot of research conducted about the effect gender-neutral housing may have on students.
Such programs intend to assign roommates in student housing regardless of gender, but it is not meant to allow couples to live together, which Young Hyatt said would likely inhibit individual students’ growth and bring the additional stress of relationships.
It is highly unlikely that USF will adopt mixed-gender housing in the near future, said Thomas Kane, dean of housing and residential education at USF. Kane said most of the schools that have adopted a mixed-gender housing policy are located in the Northeast or in California, areas with different social and political perspectives than Tampa.
“The parents would not be happy with this, the legislature would not be happy with this and the community would not be happy with this,” he said. “We got to remember, we’re in the South. It’s a conservative area of the country.”
Kane also said that students at USF have not asked for mixed-gender housing.
Evan Sherman, who is majoring in anthropology, expressed disinterest in the program.
“To be honest, I’m kind of apathetic,” he said, “It doesn’t really concern me.”
Sherman said the program would likely upset parents, and he thought people who live in dorms are typically dependant on their parents.
“It probably would mean a better perspective of the opposite sex though,” he said, “sort of like pre-marriage education.”
Nicole Garcia, who is majoring in biomedical sciences, said that she was in favor of the idea.
“It’s not that big of a deal,” she said, “I wouldn’t mind it. I think it would be less respect for privacy. The advantage (would be) more availability of housing.”