Should men and women room together at college? Last week the Los Angeles Times reported that close to 50 campuses across the U.S. permit those of the opposite sex to room together in what's being called "gender-neutral housing." According to the article, "the movement began mainly as a way to accommodate gay, bisexual and transgender students who may feel more comfortable living with a member of the opposite sex. Most schools say they discourage couples from participating, citing emotional and logistical problems of breakups." The majority of heterosexuals participating in the gender-neutral housing programs say they are not romantically involved. Although few students participate in these programs, colleges that do offer gender-neutral housing programs contend that their students should have the option of rooming with whomever they feel most comfortable.
It's almost certain that this housing trend will not be showing up on distinctly Christian college and university campuses anytime soon. (Nor should it.) However, the Los Angeles Times article highlights something I've been pondering lately: What more can Christian universities do to foster wholesome friendships between the sexes while keeping healthy boundaries?
This semester at Cedarville University, the Ohio Baptist school where I'm a resident director, I've noticed panic among many of the single women who are approaching graduation. Part of their panic is fueled by a fear (whether real or imagined) that the odds of meeting a godly man will dwindle once they graduate. Just a few weeks ago, I spoke with female nursing majors who lamented that, during their college experience, they'd had very few opportunities to interact with the men on campus. "It's so bad, we don't even ...1
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