There are plenty of roommate horror stories out there: A random pairing gone bad, a friend who turns out to be impossible to live with, a roommate who steals all your food. They happen every year. And those people who started out optimistically end up searching for an escape route by mid-year. Of course, there are success stories as well, but every single semester someone ends up moving from one room to another in the residence halls.
And it will happen regardless of gender, ethnicity or religion.
So why does the university prohibit co-ed living when just as much conflict can occur between roommates of the same sex?
The answer is simple. A romantic relationship gone sour can fuel a great deal more problems than a platonic pairing. Obviously men and women can live together without being in a relationship, but there are people who will decide to live with their significant other. Because of this, only permitting same-sex roommates in the dorms is a good idea, especially since college relationships are notorious for fizzling out in a hurry.
The St. James Apartment Complex is another story. The apartments are not like a dorm where angry roommates can be moved out the next day. Students sign a lease, and breaking that lease is difficult. While the apartments are owned by the university, they’re still very much their own unit.
Freshmen and sophomores can’t live at St. James, so by the time a student is signing a lease, most of them have already experienced two years of dorm life. They know what it’s like living with a roommate in such close quarters. They know what they’re getting into when they search for people to share an apartment with. They have more responsibility than in the dorms because there are bills to cover, rent to pay and dishes to do. And if someone of the opposite sex would be the best candidate for that situation, then they should be allowed to live together.
Granted, given the option, there would absolutely be boyfriends and girlfriends living together. But right now, there are gay and lesbian couples who live together in St. James, and chances are they thought through the consequences. If they have a problem, just like any other roommates, it’s their job, not Bradley’s, to work through it.
It’s unfortunate, then, that three or four friends who would be well-suited for apartment living can’t live together solely because they aren’t all the same sex. If they’re responsible enough to rent an apartment, they should be responsible enough to select the people they live the best with.
That being said, those rules aren’t going to change anytime soon. On the administrative level, this system has been working just fine, so no one is going to shake it up. And St. James apartments are at complete occupancy, so the inability for co-ed living doesn’t seem to decrease demand.
But if someone feels passionately that they should be able to live with their best friend who happens to be of the opposite sex, they should fight for it. And the administration will listen. Until then, the policy won’t be going anywhere unless students take matters into their own hands.