I read with interest W. Barksdale Maynard ’88’s article, “Not your parent’s dorm room” (cover story, Oct. 21). I’m encouraged to hear about new residential options available to today’s students — from substance-free housing, which a nondrinker like myself might have appreciated in my undergraduate days, to the four-year-college system, which I see as having many benefits.
I’m especially heartened by the upcoming availability of mixed-gender housing. Outside the University, young people can — and do — move into apartments or houses where men and women live together, in order to have congenial co-residents regardless of gender. The Spelman apartments, with their single-bedroom setup, seem to be the ideal place for this opportunity to begin for undergraduates at Princeton. As a one-time Spelman resident, I wish the gender-neutral option had been available to me at room draw 32 years ago.
As for the hand-wringing about “the University’s winking sanction” of “teenage cohabitation” that Mr. Maynard predicts, and the “squeamish parents” that he refers to, I’d like to see some evidence of this parental concern. I note that the only unequivocal objections actually cited in the article come from a current undergraduate, who certainly has the choice to refrain from requesting gender-neutral housing himself, and who is free to uphold his own values and promote his own comfort in his personal housing decisions.
The gender-neutral housing option is just that — an option — and I’m glad that Princeton finally is making this commonsense alternative available.