Date Your Roommate? Oregon Colleges Allow Couples in Dorm Rooms

March 30, 2008

At some Oregon universities, roommates are dating one another.

Actually, they started out dating and then became roommates, thanks to new policies that permit opposite-sex roommates in college dorms, The Oregonian reported.

Lewis and Clark University, Oregon State University, and Portland State University now allow opposite-sex roommates, and Willamette University and Reed College will try out the arrangement this fall, the Portland, Ore., newspaper said.

Colleges across the country, such as Wesleyan University and Haverford College, began experimenting with “gender neutral” dorm rooms several years ago.

In Oregon, couples, naturally, have been eager to take advantage of the few rooms that colleges set aside for such arrangements.

At Willamette, co-ed rooms are not intended for romantic relationships. Instead, they are supposed to be occupied by people who are uncomfortable with same-sex roommates because of their own gender identity. For example, a gay person might not want a roommate of the same sex.

But dating roommates is a bad idea, Robert E. Hawkinson, dean of campus life at Willamette, told the newspaper: “People of this age simply do break up a lot. This is just asking for more trouble than we want to take on.” —Josh Fischman