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Good night, kids

Issue: "Walk the Talk," Nov. 15, 1997

Same-sex bathrooms and liberal "visitation" policies are no longer uncommon at major universities. The University of Massachusetts, for example, has only three same-sex dorms. The bathrooms in the co-ed dorms are not shared between men and women, but residents in any dorm may have guests of either sex stay overnight. There are some limits to that; after three nights of hosting a guest, a resident is supposed to wait a couple of weeks before having a guest again. These policies are not heavily enforced,


At the University of Michigan, overnight visitors are allowed, as long as a resident's roommate consents, and only for a total of six nights per month.

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Co-ed bathrooms are common at the University of California at Berkley, but there are single-sex dorms and freshmen are allowed to live off campus.

The University of Texas is a little more conservative; even in the co-ed dorms, wings are single-sex, so your neighbors will not be of the opposite sex, and your bathrooms will not be co-ed. Guests are not allowed to stay all night, and freshmen are not required to live on campus.

There is only one all-female dorm at the University of Florida; housing department officials there say there has been little demand for all-male living space. Bathrooms are not shared, and freshmen may live off campus.

At the University of Wisconsin, there's one all-female dorm, and visitation is restricted in that dorm only. The other dorms are co-ed, divided by wings (so there are no co-ed bathrooms). And in the co-ed dorms, guests of either sex are allowed unlimited visitation.

All unmarried Vanderbilt undergraduates (except those whose families live within the county) must live on campus. All the freshman dorms there are single-sex, though sometimes uneven enrollment will make it necessary to divide up a dorm building into men's floors and women's floors. There's a unique practice of residents there: They vote on issues such as visitation and condom machines (any policy requires a two-thirds majority vote).

At Dartmouth, all dorms are co-ed and all freshmen must live on campus. There are no rules about sleepovers and guests of the opposite sex.

And at Harvard, all dorms are co-ed, but there are no co-ed bathrooms. The Resident Assistants do keep up with visitors, but only to try to make sure visitors aren't bringing in alcohol.

Reported by interns Tania Larson and Mark Collette


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