Men and women can live with each other


by Jasmynne Sloan

Simpson’s transition to coed housing has gone smoothly despite some doubts when the idea was proposed last year.

“As much concern as this decision initially generated last year, it’s really been a non-issue so far,” said Mandy Fox, director of residence life. “I haven’t fielded a single new complaint about the coed residence halls since May.”

In the past, Simpson housed women in Kresge Hall and men in Barker Hall. Freshmen had two options – request to live in Picken Hall, a coed residence for freshmen only, or live in either Kresge or Barker.

This is the first year all freshmen are required to live in a coed residence hall.

“Coed living is pretty normal,” freshman Jessica Lashier said. “We don’t really even see the guys except when they walk by our door.”

Lashier represents the majority of Simpson’s freshmen. She doesn’t mind coed living at all, in fact, she sees it as an important part of getting used to college.

“I’d say it’s actually fun to have a variety of people in the same dorm,” Lashier said. “I like meeting both the guys and the girls here because the more people you know, the easier it is to adjust to a new place.”

According to Fox, there were a few complaints about the decision last year, but the majority of them weren’t actually about the coed status of the residence halls. Instead they were about the change in tradition.

“Some of our alums are sad that the tradition of Kresge and Barker being women’s and men’s residence halls is over,” Fox said. “They don’t mind the coed part as much as the break from tradition.”

Junior Brittany Allison is a student ambassador who gave tours to prospective students last year. She said parents of the prospective students were sometimes concerned about the coed residence halls.

“When I explained that the dorms are coed, they usually asked a few more questions about it,” Allison said. “For the most part they were concerned about their daughters or sons being right next to the opposite sex, but they were OK with it after you explained that everyone’s in separate wings and they don’t share the same bathrooms.”

Allison wasn’t sure if any high-school senior decided against Simpson because of the requirement to live in coed housing.

“I give so many tours that I can’t follow up on every single one of them,” she said. “But this style of living is becoming normal at most colleges and even if they were to go somewhere else, they’d probably wind up in a coed building at some point.”

Neither Lashier nor Allison share the alumni concern for breaking with Simpson’s traditions.

“I don’t see it as a break with tradition because we’ve had a freshman coed hall in the past,” Allison said. “Simpson freshmen have had the option to live in a coed dorm before, in fact, Picken filled up the fastest.”

Lashier agreed that the tradition isn’t as important as what works for Simpson’s current students.

“I don’t know that it’s all that important,” Lashier said. “Everyone else has coed dorms, and as long as it benefits the college, it makes sense to do it.”