For those of you who never stop thinking of the children, we have good news. The head of Catholic University has come up with a novel idea: Simply get rid of co-ed dorms, and kids will stop boozing and screwing their way through college.
Yesterday in a Wall Street Journal editorial, President John Garvey announced that next year, Catholic University will start phasing out mixed-sex dormitories. Garvey quotes Aristotle in his opening argument that intellect and virtue are intertwined. He then laments that the virtue of college students is threatened by binge drinking and hook-up culture.
We're all aware of the dangers of excessive drinking, and Garvey also presents some troubling statistics on the effects of an active sex life in college, courtesy of the National Marriage Project (which has been known to argue that single parenthood is a threat to our society).
Rates of depression reach 20% for young women who have had two or more sexual partners in the last year, almost double the rate for women who have had none. Sexually active young men do more poorly than abstainers in their academic work. And as we have always admonished our own children, sex on these terms is destructive of love and marriage.
Here is one simple step colleges can take to reduce both binge drinking and hooking up: Go back to single-sex residences.
I know it's countercultural. More than 90% of college housing is now co-ed. But Christopher Kaczor at Loyola Marymount points to a surprising number of studies showing that students in co-ed dorms (41.5%) report weekly binge drinking more than twice as often as students in single-sex housing (17.6%). Similarly, students in co-ed housing are more likely (55.7%) than students in single-sex dorms (36.8%) to have had a sexual partner in the last year-and more than twice as likely to have had three or more.
The point about sex is no surprise. The point about drinking is. I would have thought that young women would have a civilizing influence on young men. Yet the causal arrow seems to run the other way. Young women are trying to keep up-and young men are encouraging them (maybe because it facilitates hooking up).
See ladies, this is your fault for not being able to resist male students' attempts to get in your pants! Even worse, you're now trying to keep up with men, who are promiscuous by nature. Of course when left to their own devices, heterosexual adult women usually hold tea parties in their dorm rooms rather than engaging in tawdry trysts with members of the opposite sex.
The statistics Garvey quotes raise some questions. He claims these nefarious college shenanigans are the result of having mixed-sex dormitories. However, isn't it possible that the 10% of single-sex dormitories are just more likely to be located on conservative campuses, or preferred by students who don't believe in drinking and engaging in pre-marital sex? As the graduate of a women's college, I spent four years living in (mostly) single-sex dormitories. I have to say, many of my classmates still suffered from mental health issues, drank alcohol, and had sex. (Sometimes even with other ladies!)
Apparently Garvey thinks students are only pursuing sex because it's so incredibly easily to hook up with someone in the same building. When presented with the challenge of walking an extra 50 feet to the adjacent dorm, students will definitely give up their lascivious pursuits and hit the books.
Earlier: Is Marriage Dying, Or Just Changing?
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