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Mixed-Gendered Dorms Growing In Popularity

Colleges and universities across the country are increasingly offering mixed-gender dorm rooms, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.

While U.S. educational institutions have had coed residence halls since the 1970s, there is an increasingly popular trend to allow male and female dorm roommates. The move toward this started as a way to accommodate LGBT students who may feel more comfortable with the opposite sex, but the trend is now extending to heterosexual men and women, according to the report.

Guy Gerbick, dean of residential life at Harvey Mudd College of the Claremont Colleges in Southern California, says several straight students are participating and that although the school asks applying roommates if they are in a relationship, the college does not reserve the right to deny their request. He says, "If we are going into a post-gender world, then the regulation of private behavior is just not practical."

While some universities restrict the option to upperclassmen and gay-themed residence halls, Pitzer College, also of the Claremont Colleges, does not have such restrictions for fear they will "marginalize" students, according to a college spokesperson. Pitzer's application simply asks if students prefer to room with a woman, man, or "other," or have no preference. Students can also ask to live with friends.

Conversely, a spokeswoman for Pepperdine University in Malibu, affiliated with the Churches of Christ, says the school has no intention of extending its housing options to include mixed-gender dorms. "Not in the wildest dream would Pepperdine move in that direction," says housing department office manager Sue Gamboa. Pepperdine continues to provide separate wings and campus apartments for each sex.

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