In the 1960s, cohabitation made Hatchet headlines

It’s been said that history repeats itself, and at GW, that seems to be the case.

Freshmen Clark Harding and Kathy Rooney sparked both criticism and support last month when they asked to live together in University housing, even bringing in the American Civil Liberties Union for help in their fight.

The issue of coed housing has come a long way since 1967, when male and female students first attracted attention for living together in off-campus apartments.

In an article in the Oct. 10, 1967 issue of The GW Hatchet, writer Brooks Watkins tells the story of GW students – each with different circumstances – who fought an uphill battle against society’s perception of cohabitation.

“I’ve always gotten along better with boys than girls, so why not live with one?” Alice told The Hatchet.

“A GW student until last spring, Alice has been living with Jerry, currently a student, since school ended last June. They split the rent of their on-campus basement apartment. Alice cleans and makes sure Jerry is sitting down to a decent 6 o’clock dinner, and Jerry holds up his end of the deal by putting up and sympathizing with her condition – Alice is six months pregnant,” The Hatchet reported.

“Jerry isn’t the father,” Alice said. “The father is here on campus and I have no intention of marrying him, nor does he want to marry me.

Alice called their arrangement “the ideal situation.”

“I sleep on a fold-out couch in the living room, and the bedroom is his private domain,” she said. “It took forever to convince him that I should be allowed to use his closet and clean up his room.”

Alice and Jerry said their friends readily accepted their living situation. And if they didn’t accept it, “the hell with them” seemed to be the roommates’ attitude. They said their landlord did not mind the coeducational arrangement.

Mixed-gender housing was such a deviation from social norms that students quoted in The Hatchet story asked that their names be changed.

“Dick is a groovy cook and I couldn’t be in safer hands if I were rooming with another girl – he doesn’t like girls in a dating sort of way,” Jane said.

According to The Hatchet, Dick shrugged and re-lit his cigarette. “I suppose the word for it is `queer.'”

“My parents know about the arrangement but they figure I was old enough to `start digging my own grave’ if I wanted to,” Jane told The Hatchet.

“I think the best thing about living with Dick is that he’s got such good taste he never misses telling me which dress looks good on me,” Jane said. “He’s never catty about his suggestions like some girls are.”

-Dan Gabriel

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