SA votes to back co-ed housing

by Jennifer Garfinkel | 11/10/04 6:00am

Student Assembly voted Tuesday night in favor of a resolution calling for more co-ed housing options on campus. Out of the 40 members present at the meeting, 29 voted for the resolution, 10 voted against it and one abstained.

Tim Andreadis '07, a chair of the Assembly's Diversity Affairs Committee, presented the resolution to the governing body. Committee co-chairs Yuki Kondo-Shah '07 and Santiago Vallinas '07 joined him at the podium, as did Steve Koutsavlis '05, chair of the Assembly's Academic Affairs Committee. Andreadis read the resolution and addressed questions that he expected to arise during the Assembly's question period.

The vote took place after 20 to 30 minutes of debate among the members. Many backed the resolution because they said current housing policy is heterosexist and insensitive to the needs of the gay community.

Others argued that the resolution affects only a few people and will detract from other Assembly movements, while some supported the idea of co-ed housing but took issue with the current resolution as drawn up by the Diversity Affairs Committee. Ty Moddelmog '08 criticized the resolution's use of the word "heterosexist" saying that the College's administration would be more likely to accept the proposal if it used different, more commonly-understood language.

Travis Green '08 criticized the resolution for affecting just a small number of people in a few suites in East Wheelock and the new McLaughlin cluster, as well as the River Apartments.

"It will affect only 150 people while other committees are working on things that can benefit 3,000 people," Green said.

Assembly Vice President Todd Rabkin Golden '06 spoke in favor of the resolution.

"If people aren't ready for this option, they just don't sign up for it," Rabkin Golden said. He also responded to comments about the administration's unwillingness to support co-ed housing.

"Dean Redman isn't in favor of it, so what?" he asked.

Redman told The Dartmouth yesterday that he does not unequivocally oppose co-ed housing, as long as men and women do not live in the same room. His main concerns at this time, are logistics, he said, due to D-plans and privacy, but he is looking forward to more conversation with the Diversity Affairs Committee and the Assembly.

Visitors also attended the meeting to provide input and opinions, although they were not allowed to vote. Kevin Arnold '05 called the resolution "a minority-rights issue" that affects homosexuals and women and "a historic moment" for Dartmouth.

The Diversity Affairs Committee will draw up a proposal to be sent to the Office of Residential Life and the senior administration. The Committee does not plan to change anything about the current resolution, Andreadis said.

"We hope that tonight's discussion will illuminate the issues at stake and convince the administration that this is something worth fighting for," he said.

Vallinas agreed, but said that there is still "a very long journey until the administration implements this policy."