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University returns to all-male and all-female dorms

President says single-sex residences will reduce binge drinking and sex


 

Photo courtesy of adpowers on Flickr

The president of the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. says his school will return to all-male and all-female dormitories in September. Here’s his reasoning. “The two most serious ethical challenges college students face are binge drinking and the culture of hooking up,” wrote John Garvey in The Wall Street Journal Monday. “Here is one simple step colleges can take to reduce both binge drinking and hooking up: Go back to single-sex residences,” he writes.

His only evidence appears to be a study by Christopher Kaczor of Loyola Marymount University that shows students in co-ed dorms report binge drinking more than twice as often as students in single-sex housing, and that students in co-ed housing are significantly more likely to have had a sexual partner in the past year. What the article doesn’t mention is whether Kaczor’s study controlled for the fact that many students who live in single-sex dorms have chosen to live there precisely because they wish to avoid alcohol and sex.


 

University returns to all-male and all-female dorms

  1. Do students who enjoy risky behavior choose co-ed residences because they seek a more permissive atmosphere? Is the differences between co-ed and single sex residences reflect the kinds of people who choose them, rather than being caused by some difference between single-sex and co-ed residences?

    The answer to both questions is no.In almost all cases, students did not select single-sex dormitories, but were placed in them by university officials. Since there was no selection, there can be no selection effect. Researchers found no differences in depression, impulsivity, extroversion, body image, or pro-social behavior tendencies between the two groups—all differences relevant to students’ likelihood to take risks.

  2. Christopher (Christ-bearer), to which researchers do you refer?

    Consider this — proximity reduces time and geographic barriers while permitting social interaction that opens paths toward the behaviors the university is trying to prevent.

    There can be no doubt that co-habitating with the opposite sex increases both serendipitous and designed interactions. The fewer the “chance” meetings, the fewer the invitations to interact, the fewer the opportunity for sin.

    Pretty simple really.

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