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June 2, 2010

Vol. 110, No. 15

Gender-neutral issues

In response to: Gender-neutral housing on its way

Because of some temporary health problems, I was delayed in reading the March 17 issue of PAW. The experience almost gave me a fatal relapse. This was brought on by two totally conflicting decisions apparently made by people in positions of authority at Princeton.

The two issues were the mandatory program for all freshmen titled “Sex on a Saturday Night” and gender-neutral suites. For parents of students, the term “gender-neutral” means that your daughter can expect that when she is taking a shower (especially late on Saturday night), she should not be surprised if one or more young men wander into the bathroom stark naked, or if she is sitting on the toilet reading a book of Elizabethan poetry, more young men may decide to look her over from stem to stern. If she is really lucky, no uninvited males will enter her bedroom or her bed when she is there. These are reasons why young ladies and their parents do not yearn for gender-neutral living arrangements unless the lady is married.  

What makes this decision so strange in my mind is that the mandatory sex program is (I hope) a rather lame effort to put the women at Princeton on guard about some of the things that may come up thanks to the gender-neutral policy, as well as the more serious kinds of things that usually arise when young women are forced into such situations at the age of 18 or 19, combined with alcohol or drugs or just the pressure of wanting to be accepted as one of the gang at a new environment at college — especially one founded as a seminary.

John A. Pfeifer ’54
Bay Village, Ohio

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1 Response to Gender-neutral issues

Johannes Muenzel '11 Says:

2010-06-07 09:24:33

Sadly, John A. Pfeifer ’54 doesn't seem to know what gender-neutral housing even IS. It's voluntary, upperclassmen only, and has nothing to do with public bathrooms. The private Spelman bathrooms that are affected by it ... can be locked.
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