Tufts University last week rejected a pilot plan for coeducation dorms that it had been considering for several months. The university had considered testing the idea with 10 co-ed rooms.
Carl Sciortino, former co-chair of the Tufts Transgendered, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Collective (TTLGBC), has been pushing for co-ed rooms at the school, arguing that same-sex dorm rooms discriminate against gay students by forcing them to live in sexually tense environments where they may face homophobia.
He said the administration ought to respect the wishes of gay students.
"They want to choose who their roommates are," he said.
But administrators said logistical difficulties made the proposal difficult to implement.
"We're a very diverse university and we get a lot of special requests regarding housing," Cindy Pollard, Tufts' director of public relations, told The Boston Globe. "If we do this, all the others will claim that we're doling out special favors. People are always making requests based on lifestyle, medical conditions, living habits. It would open floodgates."
Students said they believed Tufts might also fear the reaction of parents and others.
"The university is largely being cautious about the wider perception that comes along with offering co-ed rooms," Judith Brown, coordinator of the Tufts University Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgendered Resource Center, told The Globe.
"They're worried about how parents will react if they hear their daughter can move in with her boyfriend," she said.
But Tufts junior Lloyd E. Park said he thinks that parents can be involved in a student's choice to live with a member of the opposite sex.
"I don't think parents would mind," he said. "If parents are involved in students' lives, they can be part of the decision. The option should be there."
Tufts senior David A. Rosenberg says he thinks the details of the plan could be worked out.
"Any complications can easily be dealt with if you're circumspect when planning your program," he said.
Some Tufts students said they would like the administration to re-consider their decision at a future date.
"It is an option that should be explored, but not letting it go through this year was a good idea," sophomore Johannah M. Krueger said. "It seemed too unclear to happen this year. It's something that they should keep working on."
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