As a socially inept and sexually inexperienced teenager heading off to college, I was grateful even then for the fact that Furman University had single-sex dorms, separated by a lush campus. And now, still socially inept and the father of a nearly six-year-old girl (though with an unfunded college account), I appreciate the distance between the sexes at Furman that allowed for a slow introduction to the opposite gender. (The fact that Bob Jones University was across town, with its, ahem, strict dating policies, made us seem postively libertine, of course.)So my first reaction to the news that the new CUA president, John Garvey, is converting all 17 halls to single-sex next year was, "Good for him." That was my second reaction too. (11 of the 17 are currently coed.) I figure motivated college kids will do what they're going to do. (Furman was a "dry" campus as well, ostensibly.) Garvey points to some research indicating that single-sex dorms reduce casual hookups and binge drinking. The research doesn't seem exhaustive by any stretch.But still...Read the WaPo story here. And the paper's higher ed blog has further reaction here, and notes that Notre Dame (what will conservatives say?!) does not have coed dorms. Thoughts?
David Gibson is the director of Fordham’s Center on Religion & Culture.