Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Case Against Co-ed Dorms

I had my say about co-ed dorms a few days ago. Link here. Yesterday, Susan Walsh added hers on her blog, HookingUpSmart. Link here.

There Walsh reviewed some of the latest research in adolescent brain development, the better to show that college age students are prone to make bad, impulsive decisions and are really not sufficiently adult to act responsibly on their own.

In Walsh’s words, the goal should be: “I think there is value, though, in setting students up for success by anticipating some of the many things that can go wrong, and providing the safest, sanest environment for learning and growth that we can.

She makes the salient point that it’s not just the fault of colleges. When children are at home, parents bear considerable responsibility for what they allow their children to do.

Walsh recounts: “I recall when my children were seniors in high school. At that time, co-ed sleepovers were all the rage. My children stamped their feet and railed that I was unreasonable for not letting them attend these all-night celebrations, with plenty of underage drinking fueling the shenanigans.

“As I saw it, these parties were all downside. Of course, the kids assured me that they had good judgment, nothing would happen, etc. etc. I pointed out that even if they exercised good judgment, that didn’t mean others would. It just made no sense to put twenty 18 year-olds in a basement with a keg and hope for the best. Yet fast forward four months, and that’s exactly what they were all doing at college! When during the summer between high school and college does the mature decision-making switch get turned on?

It’s always good to see a mother taking her responsibility seriously, even when, as often happens, she has to fight off the encroaching cultural tide.


Susan Walsh said...

Thanks for the shout-out, Stuart. I'm not naive enough to think that Catholic U's decision will change the culture, but I welcome any rational voice to the conversation!

Stuart Schneiderman said...

The push back has to start somewhere and the Catholic U. decision gets the conversation rolling. I, as you, am more than happy to keep it rolling.

No one really knows the paths that lead to changes in public opinion, but at least we can have our say in the matter.