How do you define coed?
At Seattle Pacific University, men and women are on alternating floors. The University of Washington has integrated floors with men and women in separate rooms. Western Washington University has men and women in the same rooms. Pacific Lutheran University has a “gender neutral” housing option.
When the subject of coed living comes up, many Christians shudder at that thought. Men and women in the same living area? What a non-Christian thing to do!
Yet NU boldly took a step into the secular 21st century this year with coed dorms for the first time in the school’s history. For students here, it’s a big deal to have men and women under one roof.
To outside students, it’s often a joke.
Jarel Sanders commented that NU’s actions were “a step in the right direction,” then explained how the “majority (of PLU students) wanted gender neutral” housing as an option.
Samantha Fix, a Christian attending UW, said, “I think it’s a good compromise for a school that wants to remain conservative but not completely separate males and females.”
Even apartment students, whom the housing office prefers to have spent at least one semester in the dorms, think the coed implementation is frivolous.
“I don’t think it’s co-ed. I think It’s intermixed housing. My idea is your next-door neighbor could be boys or your next-door neighbor could be girls,” Makinzi Bass, a former dorm dweller stated. “It’s intermixed buildings. If you can visit whenever you please, I think that’s coed.”
Apartments at NU have been coed for many years with men and women in one complex, even being neighbors. There’s a worry that “things might happen” in a coed community.
“But those things could happen elsewhere, too. If we can’t act like adults, it’s something we need to figure out,” Morgan Howell, another apartment resident, stated.
“I appreciate guys and girls in the same space. There is more opportunities for living and learning together,” Alison Bradley, GPC Area Coordinator, said. “My experience has been a little more broad, and coed feels familiar and pretty comfortable.”
As to whether or not the dorms will take any further steps up the coed spectrum, Bradley said, “If you want things to be different, and you’re loud enough about it, I think you can change stuff. There’s always room for change.”
Written by Rachel Brewster