I applaud Kathy Rooney and Clark Harding for finally challenging our housing policy on opposite-sex roommates. The current policy reflects an archaic view that any male-female contact must be a romantic relationship of some kind; that opposite-sex friends do not exist. More importantly, it implies that heterosexuality is the only sexual orientation worthy of consideration.
Apparently, the University has no fear of homosexual couples living together and then having to deal with a traumatic breakup, the usual argument used against opposite-sex housing. By the University’s (and, apparently, The GW Hatchet’s) own reasoning, a homosexual would not be allowed to live with someone of the same sex, for fear of “intimate behavior.” GW’s refusal to consider this factor while forbidding opposite-sex roommates for fear of sexual activity is pure hypocrisy.
Many students, myself included, have a difficult time selecting roommates, because most (if not all) of our friends are of the opposite sex. Even if the University cannot tell the difference between a friend and a partner, most students can. The University warns of dire consequences if this policy is overturned, but the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Wesleyan University, both which permit opposite-sex housing, have reported no such problems. As long as it is controlled (counseling such as what MIT uses, maybe screening for judicial violations as is being done with the Dakota next year), the change should be manageable.
In response to the argument that Rooney and Harding could “just move off campus,” that will be possible as soon as financial aid ceases to decrease need-based aid for students who move off campus. Until that happens, moving off campus will not be a viable option for many students.
The University and The Hatchet have said that if enough students expressed support for a change, it would happen. So, those of you who agree with Harding and Rooney should do whatever you can to express your support, whether simply signing a petition in their favor or proposing an opposite-sex living arrangement of your own to the University.
For once, the University has given us an open opportunity to change an outdated policy. Let’s do it.
-The writer is a junior majoring in theater.