You arrive on campus for your first day, excited. Daddy’s little girl is about to embark on the amazing four years of life known as college.

The door swings open to your room and in walks a guy.

Guess what, ladies: he’s your neighbor.

Some universities are starting to offer coeducational and homosexual living quarters according to a recent survey by the New York Times.

Swathmore College and nearby Haverford College are two such schools that allow men and women to share a room. But Fairfield is not considering such a plan, university officials said.

Gary Stephenson, Fairfield University’s housing director, says that our mission statement encourages the acceptance of all students.

By separating or making exceptions for individuals based on sexual identity we would not be upholding the university’s position that everyone should try to support one another.

Fairfield University welcomed its first females to attend in September of 1970. The dorms became coeducational in 1980 when Regis, an all male residence hall was merged with Campion, an all female dormitory.

If a case were presented to him where a homosexual student did not feel comfortable living with a heterosexual student or visa versa, he would treat the situation like any other roommate disagreement.

“The first step would be to try and get the two involved in dialog and offer educational counseling- be it from a residence assistant or peer tolerance organization,” said Stephenson. “If this approach didn’t work, then I would begin the process of finding a better match.”

He stresses that in all cases the individual who has a complaint is removed, not the roommate.

Stephenson said Fairfield is also not likely to follow the model of such universities as the University of Hartford, University of Massachusetts, Wesleyan University and Tufts University, which have designated particular floors or buildings, specifically geared towards homosexual, transgender students and their allies. These schools say that in doing so they create a safe and more supportive environment that is free of the trappings and pressures of being margin-alized in a heterosexual world.

Winnifred Paul’03, president of the Gay/ Straight Alliance at Fairfield, thinks that although it might serve to create a community amongst these students, it would further alienate them from the rest of the school.

She warns that in a less open-minded environment it may even make those individuals targets for bigotry.

“The real world can be an intolerant place, as a homosexual, one shouldn’t remove themselves from any environment that may contain ignorance,” she said.

Fairfield University is hesitant not only because of the possible segregation of homosexuals, but also of allowing potentially romantic partners to cohabit.

Stephenson does not foresee allowing the opposite sex to cohabit for any reason, romantic or otherwise. In the spirit of tolerance, he does not want to risk segregating any group.

Supporters of coeducational housing answer this apprehension by saying that making people comfortable with where they live should take precedence. However, a New York Times survey said that, if given the opportunity, students would choose not to live with someone they were romantically involved with.

Most Fairfield students said they feel fine living with same sex roommates. While others said they would consider living with the opposite sex, a majority remarked they would never want to live with the person they were dating.

“I couldn’t imaging sharing a room 24 hours a day, seven days a week with David,” says Lisa Donovan ’04, “our time apart makes us appreciate our time together so much more.”

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