Cumberland Times-News

November 11, 2013

A safe place

St. Mary’s tries a new housing arrangement

To the Editor:
Cumberland Times-News

— Here is another development we never expected to see ... or would not have expected at one time:

The Associated Press reports that St. Mary’s College of Maryland now allows students of the opposite sex to be roommates.

Granted, people of the opposite sex have been choosing to become roommates for some time now, but this is in college housing facilities.

St. Mary’s has set up the arrangement to be strictly voluntary, and students will not be randomly assigned an opposite-sex roommate without consent.

AP quoted a St. Mary’s dean as saying the policy was said to be designed “to provide better housing arrangements for students who do not identify with their birth sex or are uncomfortable living with students of the same gender.”

Time was, things were quite different. When one of the dormitories at West Virginia University was opened up to hold students of both sexes, the men were assigned to the bottom floors and women to the top floors, with proctors assigned to ride the elevators.

St. Mary’s has created what may seem like an odd arrangement to people who aren’t familiar with the challenges that are faced by people who have gender identity issues ... issues that are very real. The idea is to make sure that all students have a safe place to live.

As Bob Dylan used to sing, “The times, they are a-changin’.” For some people, they occasionally change for the better.