Catholic University Goes Back to Single-Sex Dorms

Rick Perry isn’t the only person concerned with the moral decline of our country’s youth.  The president of Catholic University (CUA), John Garvey, announced in a Wall Street Journal editorial that his institution will be returning to single-sex dormitories, in an attempt to curb the “hooking up” that is surely a direct consequence of men and women living in the same buildings.

In addition to scolding young women for failing to be a “civiling influence” on young Catholic men, Garvey expanded on the depravity caused by binge drinking and “hooking up” on his campus.  Citing conservative sociologist W. Bradford Wilcox (who is extremely pro-marriage, to the point where he publicly demonized single mothers who chose artificial insemination), Garvey explained that for the 40-64% of college students who are estimated to “hook up,”

“The effects are not all fun. Rates of depression reach 20% for young women who have had two or more sexual partners in the last year, almost double the rate for women who have had none. Sexually active young men do more poorly than abstainers in their academic work.”

As usual, it’s the women’s fault.  Instead of curbing young men’s ravenous desire for alcohol and sex, college women “are trying to keep up—and young men are encouraging them (maybe because it facilitates hooking up).”

The ironic thing is that, according to Heidi Schlumpf of the National Catholic Reporter, CUA’s dorms were already single-sex by floor or wing.  So the buildings could be described as only “mildly coed.”

Schlumpf, who points out that Garvey’s statistics only show correlation, not causation, describes the decision as a “brilliant PR move” for Catholic parents who want to feel “safe” sending their children to CUA.

It’s true that binge drinking and “hooking up” are issues that university communities need to talk about.  But separating men and women will not solve the problem – and indeed, blaming women for these issues will only increase their sense of shame and guilt when making any sexual decision, healthy or not.

Photo from Brunosan's Flickr photostream.


Maarja L.
Maarja L7 years ago

If people want to get together, they will. Single-sex dorms won't stop them.

Bernard Cronyn
7 years ago

Given that the Pope still bans contraception this is surely a vaguely sensible (by ideological standards) option.

Danuta W.
Danuta W7 years ago

Thanks for posting.

Christine S.
Christine S7 years ago

I don't think there's anything wrong with single sex dorms- it's just that (as others have pointed out) if guy and gal students want to "get together", they will find a way. My first year of college, I was in a dorm with "mixed" floors- sometimes it would have been nice NOT to see the guys first thing in the morning before anyone had brushed their teeth ;-) ....

michael c.
corbin m7 years ago

Someone save us from conservatives.

Dana W.
Dana W7 years ago

Single sex dorms sound good but are not the solution. For thousands of years men and women have found ways and places to be together. Perhaps our schools should focus more on sex education, personal responsibility, and the dangers of overindulging in drinking, drugs, etc. while away from home.

Lin Moy
Lin M7 years ago

You know, they should never had mixed housing to start with.

Suzette L.
Suzette L7 years ago

You'd think that males were drooling morons walking around with erections, lacking reasoning capability, completely unable to stop themselves attempting sex with any nearby female, and only women are capable of halting this mad male sex frenzy. Men are called to be moral creatures too. Heaven isn't made only for women, & it's long past time that men take responsibility for their sexual behavior, instead of expecting women to bear that burden alone.

Suzette L.
Suzette L7 years ago

Actually, I've been disturbed for some time that dorms are no longer single-sex. I believe it does make it easier for casual sex to occur when there is such open access in a living situation to members of the opposite sex. Anyone who thinks that people living in a communal situation aren't going to be more likely to engage in sexual behavior are denying basic human nature. There should be someplace on campus where girls can relax, not have to fend off male advances, don't have to feel they must be dressed up/made up upon leaving the dorm room, or have to worry about guys walking into their shower rooms "by mistake." When I went to school a relatively short 25 years ago, our dorms were single sex, & male visitors weren't allowed in after 10 pm on weeknites & midnite on Fri/Sat. It allowed us to be girls among girls, a rare experience these days, and a welcome respite from all the boy/girl pressure tho' we might not have seen it that way at the time.

That said, it's unbelievably annoying that John Garvey is scolding women for failing to be civilizing influences. I swear some people never examine their own belief systems logically! Why are women supposed to be the gatekeepers of sexual morality anyway? We are the ones more easily raped, we are the ones who get blamed when we get raped, we are the ones accused of "asking for it" or "dressing to ask for it" when we are raped, we're the ones forced to take sole responsibility for unwanted pregnancies resulting from rape,