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Co-ed living resolution a long time coming

Originally published October 29, 2010

It’s about time.

On Monday, in its sixth week of general assembly, Student Senate passed a resolution in a unanimous vote to encourage administration to make the St. James Apartment Complex and Main Street Commons co-ed living.

We’ll start with the resolution, mainly because it truly is a great one.

Being a college student is a bit awkward. On one hand, we’re adults, responsible almost entirely for our education, finances and general well being while away at school. So it’s only natural that we be able to fully choose our living arrangement.

At the same time, however, the university does have responsibilities for its students beyond our education, safety most likely being key among them.

That said, the university can only try to save us from ourselves to a certain extent. And that is exactly what is being done in the university’s single-gender apartment policy.

Alan Galsky, the vice president for Student Affairs, this week told the Scout it is the administration’s responsibility to prevent roommate conflicts from going south. But it isn’t.

The fact of the matter is that the vast majority of co-ed apartments would be occupied by those in platonic relationships. Sure, there are those who are romantically involved whose relationship could hit a rough patch, causing more than the usual roommate conflicts.

But that’s not the university’s problem.

That’s the couple’s problem, and the university should stay out of it. Galsky and other university officials wouldn’t involve themselves in a couple’s housing conflict if they lived out on Barker Avenue instead of in the complex.

This resolution is not about allowing a boyfriend and girlfriend to live together. It’s about letting best friends of opposite genders move in together. It’s something they have the option of doing right now, but they’d be forced into the neighborhood, where less-than ideal housing abounds. But if they want to stay on campus in the apartment complex, they’re out of luck. And that’s wrong.

That’s why, frankly, we demand this resolution becomes policy. There are, admittedly, downsides. But we think Galsky would be pleasantly surprised by the lack of problems that would arise from co-ed living situations. It’s a bit late for next year’s residents of St. James, but the policy could still work in Main Street Commons and for future leases in the complex.

And it’s about time the university has to address this in a public forum.

That brings us to the next point. This is a great resolution, and we appreciate the effort that was put into it by its co-sponsors.

But it’s taken far too long. This needs to be the first of a long line of Senate resolutions if the body wants to get anything done this year.

Monday was the last October meeting, meaning they only have six left. That’s six meetings to really start working on causes near and dear to students’ hearts.

This resolution is one of them. But there are lots more.

So instead of bickering during Senate meetings about menial issues like Senate dress code – one that, albeit ridiculous and stupid no one outside of Senate cares even a little about – we need to start seeing actual work coming out of Baker 52.

Don’t get us wrong, some little things here and there are getting done. But comparing this year to last, when by this time Senate had already led a statewide fight for MAP Grants, it’s not exactly painting a rosy picture.

This resolution is a great start. But the ball has only just started moving.