The Scandal of Co-ed Dorms

Jun 25th, 2011 | By | Category: Ethics, Featured Issues

I recently read an op-ed essay by John Garvey of the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.  I was absolutely stunned by a statistic Garvey cited in his piece:  More than 90% of college housing in the US is now co-ed!!  Common sense tells me that this is not a good thing for our culture.  What are we saying to our young people—the next generation of leaders—about values, about virtue and about sex?  It seems logical to me that we are saying there is no relationship to how you live while in college and how you will live as a husband or wife, a dad or a mother.  That we have 90% of our college housing as co-ed living is a moral and ethical disaster!  Garvey cites several connections between co-ed living and other social dysfunctions:

  • Students in co-ed dorms (41.5%) report weekly binge drinking more than twice as often as students in single-sex housing (17.6%).
  • Students in co-ed housing are more likely (55.7%) than students in single-sex dorms (36.8%) to have had a sexual partner in the last year—and more than twice as likely to have had three or more.
  • Garvey cites these connections because of other stunning statistics in the US:  Alcohol-related accidents are the leading cause of death for young adults aged 17-24.  Students who engage in binge drinking (about 2 in 5) are 25 times more likely to do things like miss class, fall behind in school work, engage in unplanned sexual activity and get in trouble with the law.  They also cause trouble for other students, who are subjected to physical and sexual assault, suffer property damage and interrupted sleep, and end up babysitting problem drinkers.  Further, hooking up is as common as drinking.  One study he cites reports that 40 to 64% of college students report hooking up!  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.  Obviously, sex on those terms is destructive of love and marriage!!

For all these reasons, Garvey, as president of Catholic University, has decided that his university will end co-ed dormitory living.  I was very pleased to hear of his decision.  He is taking a bold step in restoring one of the most important functions of a college education—teach and model virtue and an ethical lifestyle, and help the future leaders of tomorrow understand that there are profound consequences to the choices they make while in college.  We do not need any more studies or research.  The evidence is clear.  What God has been saying in His Word for nearly 5,000 years remains true:  Sexual abstinence before marriage is the wisest sexual choice to make.  The colleges and universities of our nation have been fostering a self-destructive lifestyle on our college campuses.  We should not be surprised with the results we are now seeing.

See Garvey’s profoundly important essay in the Wall Street Journal (13 June 2011). PRINT PDF

 

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