TOWSON, Md. (WJZ) — Students living at Rutgers University dorms will soon be allowed to choose roommates of the opposite sex.
The change comes after a gay student killed himself after cyberbullying by his roommate and, as Mike Schuh reports, a similar plan is already in place in Maryland.
Rutgers freshman Tyler Clementi jumped to his death off the George Washington Bridge five months ago, after his roommate streamed live video of Clementi’s sexual encounter with another man. Gay and lesbian students there asked Rutgers to allow men and women to share the same dorm room. Tuesday, they agreed.
The gender neutral assignments would be optional and, if chosen, the students’ parents couldn’t override them. Boyfriend/girlfriend arrangements would be allowed.
College students in Maryland had a lot to say on such a change.
“I don’t necessarily think it’s a good idea,” said Towson freshman Sarah Dinapoli.
Far from thinking it’s a good idea, many college students are cautious.
“I think it could cause problems,” said Lauren Delaney.
At Towson, such a change has been discussed but is not on the front burner.
“I feel it’s a lot easier when guys live together and girls live together,” said a student.
It’s not just for gay students; those in a relationship could move in together.
“Because if a boyfriend and girlfriend break up, then they’re stuck living together,” Dinapoli said.
At Loyola, no such changes are in the works.
“I personally, I want to live with girls but I don’t think people should have to live with girls if they don’t want to,” said Jackie Castille.
“That is a very controversial, difficult issue and obviously that was a really traumatic event and this could be a trial and error situation and maybe we’ll learn this is a better idea,” said Kelsey McGlynn.
The University of Maryland does have a gender neutral pilot program at a dorm owned by a private company. This semester, 46 students signed up.
The University of Maryland’s gender neutral pilot program will become permanent next fall.