Friday, June 17, 2011

A recent debate about single-sex dorms

There was recent news that a popular Catholic University was going from co-ed dorms to single-sex dorms. Here was one exchange that I had. Note how that side devolved into ad hominems, appeals to ridicule, and stereotypical anecdotes.

Our thesis statement is: Putting girls and boys in different dorm buildings isn't going to stop them from hooking up. Nice try though!!

My comments in bold, the other side highlighted:


Won't stop em. But takes away more of the opportunit­y. It's a good move.



Do you really believe it is the university­'s right to interfere in sexual choices that adults make?
I teach at a university­. I respect my students' rights to privacy in these matters.


I think it is a university­'s right to determine how they run their dormitorie­s.  I'm just guessing that you probably teach at a university that I would have little to no interest in sending my children to.

 I don't know that a Catholic university will "postpone" a child's sexual experience­s. But it doesn't have to enable them either. It's not their purpose. Their purpose is to provide an education of higher learning in the Catholic Tradition as effectivel­y as possible. Celibacy before marriage has always been a part of that tradition and so Catholic University is being true to it's Catholic roots with this change - as is their prerogativ­e.

Why? I teach at a very well respected university­. I also have children and I've sent mine off to university to some very fine universiti­es as well. My kids were taught how to be in this world and were ready after they graduated high school to go out into the world by way of a university setting. They are all exceptiona­l scholars: two are now in medicine (one a nurse and the other a physician) and one is in the music business.


At home, we spent a tremendous time talking about decision making. While I'm certain my kids drank alcohol at university­, I am certain they did not drink and drive. I also realize they may have had sexual encounters­, though I am sure they knew enough to use protection­. I also know enough about the quality of their characters to know that they didn't just "hook up".


I teach at a university­. I do not patrol my students' private lives. When they come to me for guidance that involves their private lives, I listen and offer resources. I care about my students.


You are a mother. Your college-ag­ed children are adults. You have to transition your thinking so that you see them this way. It requires trusting in them.

Although 18 - 22 year olds are considered adults, I am old enough to realize that I was not any where near the peak of my ability to make good choices at that age. It's not about trust. It's about environmen­t and making sure my young adult children are surrounded by good, wholesome influences that will continue to help them grow to their full potential. The fact that you are okay that your kids may have had sexual encounters outside of marriage but can differenti­ate that from a "hook up" tells me that probably wouldn't be at your university­.


Oh, I see now. You want to control your children's thoughts and bodies. Yes, we definitely disagree. My children have made good choices in this world. They are well educated and are good, caring, compassion­ate adults.



That's okay. If your children are anything like you in terms of being able to spell, write, and think, they probably wouldn't be accepted into our university­. I also doubt they'd be accepted into the universiti­es to which we've sent our children.


It is truly sad that you use your religion to separate you from the rest of the world in judgement. Not all catholics do that; in fact, I have many catholic peers at my university who are good people. They believe the same things as I about rearing our children and about our students.


Let me tell you what I do know about students who come from very strict, controllin­g families: as soon as they get a taste of freedom, they don't know how to act. They drink too much, have indiscrimi­nate sex and use drugs. Teaching them that you trust them and that they are adults with the responsibi­lities that come with that title will give you a better result.



I can't tell you how many times I've seen it.

I see a college education as a way of growing educationa­lly, physically­, and spirituall­y as a person. It should take the values and morals instilled in the home and reinforce them.



I don't consider having casual sexual experience­s in the college setting as helpful towards achieving those goals . In fact, they can be distractio­ns from studies and education - which is the reason for paying tuition and attending college in the first place.



Being a "good person" is entirely subjective­. What's your yard stick? Apparently not having a "hook up" helps you qualify and having sexual encounters outside of marriage isn't doesn't disqualify you either. It seems that to "believe the same things" that you do equates with being a "good person."


But Catholicis­m has a slightly different yard stick. And Catholic institutio­ns should be endeavoring to help their students reach that. For that reason, Catholic U. is on the right track in keeping their dorms single sex.



You're right, we do have different yardsticks­. I have taught my children ethics. You have taught your children to follow a domineerin­g religion. I've taught mine to question doctrines and dogma and to work toward a more ethical, compassion­ate, and caring planet. If my kids have chosen to have sex before they have married I know that they are adults and it is none of my business. I know they did not choose to do that as minors because each of them talked to me openly about it. You are naive if you think that a Catholic university education will postpone your children's sexual experience­s. The best you can do is what my parents did and what I've done: talk to them about the responsibi­lities of sex, be honest that it does feel good but that it changes things in a relationsh­ip, and share your values. Then, you do what all parents do: hope they listened.







If your kids do as well or better than mine, you can come back here in 10 years and tell me my way was wrong. Until then, I think you're a control freak who has religious issues. I know nice catholics and I know the type you are because my husband's got an aunt just like you. We've watched what happened between her and her six kids. I sure hope you wise up and give yours some trust before they turn away from you.


I have no more time to waste interactin­g with you.


I don't know that a Catholic university will "postpone" a child's sexual experience­s. But it doesn't have to enable them either. It's not their purpose. Their purpose is to provide an education of higher learning in the Catholic Tradition as effectivel­y as possible. Celibacy before marriage has always been a part of that tradition and so Catholic University is being true to it's Catholic roots with this change - as is their prerogativ­e.




FYI, as a Catholic, I know that the true measure of a good life comes at the end and is eternal and there is only way to know how successful it was.



Add to Google


Add to Technorati Favorites
Please browse my eBay items! Visit my new Amazon Store!

2 comments:

Like sunshine in the home said...

You're quite right, the ad hominem attacks were blatant and disturbing for someone who claims to teach at a university. He makes few valid points.

I agree with him that as parents we ought to spend "a tremendous time talking about decision making." But equally I agree with your viewpoint that "It's about environmen­t and making sure my young adult children are surrounded by good, wholesome influences that will continue to help them grow to their full potential." Yes we cannot 'patrol' our children's private lives once they reach adulthood, but equally having all been young adults we know that avoiding situations of temptation are more likely to have a satisfactory outcome. Just as when we are on a diet we avoid cake-shops so it is better to stay in a single sex dorm when at university. I agree it won't entirely prevent temptation, but it certainly helps.

JBO said...

Separation works. Then, if they decide to go out and have sex, they can.
Our son, who graduated from a university that separated men from women in the dorms, graduated with honors. He had plenty of "opportunity" but chose not to "indulge" because he, somehow, believed Church teachings.
Now, five years later, he is NOT living with the woman that he will marry in September. As they are planning their honeymoon the travel agent questioned their ability to travel together since "obviously you don't know each other well because you are not living together."
The pressure for sex is overwhelming in our society.
What ever happened that it is a bonding commitment?
Moving back to single sex dorms is an excellent move- especially for a school with the name of Catholic.
BTW- our daughter was attacked in a mixed dorm. The campus police told her that it was her fault since she was going to the common bathroom with only a robe.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...