There have been many changes at McDaniel this past year from adding a convenience store on campus to renaming an academic building. Now the first-year dorms, Whiteford and Rouzer, are becoming co-ed.
Some students embrace the idea and hope that it will help freshmen transition into college. “First year students should have a neutral environment,” said Freshman Christine Lees. “With the integration, there will be less drama among the girls and a decrease in vandalism among guys.” She adds that the co-ed first-year dorms “will allow students to be comfortable with the opposite gender instead of being paranoid”.
Sophomore Trevor Hammond agrees. “As far as the dorms becoming co-ed, I think it’ll be a massive benefit to the freshman class. I know last year my ability to meet and talk to girls was narrowed due to the escort rules that were implemented in Whiteford.”
Hammond explains that McDaniel is “a pretty liberal place, freedom to be who you are and believe what you want.” He says, “McDaniel prides itself on being the first college south of the Mason-Dixon line to become co-ed.”
Dr. Deborah Vance, the chair of the Communication and Cinema department, also agrees saying, “The co-ed first-year dorms are a good idea. At first, some might find it fearful because both genders might find the opposite as objects and increase sexual behavior. However, that is not the case because they will become friends or like family over time.”
Vance also teaches Gender and Communication and says that the gender equality issues here at McDaniel are based on the individual’s opinion and is reflected by gender issues here in the United States through cultural values. For example, the media promote certain stereotypes and then consumers will portray that stereotype.
While some think the co-ed dorms will help first-year students get acclimated with the opposite gender, others don’t sit well with the idea. “Freshmen should focus more on academics and not the opposite gender living in the same building as them,” says Sophomore Brittany Anger. “This will cause problems when it comes to privacy and also provoke provocative activity.”
Anger explains, “Guys are not as mature as girls when entering college.” She hopes the college will set aside two residence halls for same-sex students of all years for those who are uncomfortable living with the opposite gender or for religious purposes.
Director of Residence Life Michael Robbins, though, is excited about trying something new. He says, “Your classes, FYS, clubs, and friends are co-ed freshman year. However, the dorms where you sleep are not.” Robbins adds that the co-ed first-year dorms are part of a pilot program where three first-year seminars will live on the same floor. “It will help create a learning environment with each other when it comes to group work and assignments”.
Although people within the McDaniel community have mixed emotions on this change, this might be a change for the better for first-year students as they transition into college.