My comment above, and I suspect BrownAlumParent's, was based on my experience here, where occasionally people come on describing themselves as conservatives and asking whether they'll be comfortable, and it becomes clear that they are not so comfortable with being around gay people. I wasn't suggesting (and I don't think BrownAlumParent was suggesting) that conservatives are usually or even often homophobic.
Unfortunately, it's been my experience at Brown that the majority of students who describe themselves as politically conservative end up being uncomfortable when I talk about my identity as a queer individual. It's an unfortunate stereotype, dodgersmom, but it's been a true one for me.
POmani: yes - you can choose single-sex housing. Your dorm would be single-sex by floor; that is to say, there may be men above or below you, but not on your floor and certainly not sharing your bathroom. Brown will honor these requests.
No, bruno14, you misunderstood . . . POmani is a boy. He wants the option of living on an all women's hall.
What he doesn't understand, of course, is that it would no longer be an all women's hall if he moved in - it would be coed. And all the woman who wanted single-sex housing would have to be relocated elsewhere!
POmani - you need to wrap your brain around the concept of accommodating everyone. That means that you can't be housed wherever you want. A diverse population includes women who simply don't want men on their hall.
I'm going to assume that Pomani was joking around or just posing a hypothetical not genuinely trying to get himself placed on an all-girls floor.
Since you made it very clear that conservative did not imply homophobic, may I ask what it did imply? I don't recall too many discussions about social welfare programs or tax code so I'm not really sure what issues a "conservative" student would have on anything close to a day to day basis unless you were referring to drugs, sex/gender, or religion and therefore quite frankly the assumption that homophobia was involved isn't so out of line.
"Conservative" for purposes of this discussion (single-sex housing) might mean that a student's religion makes it inappropriate for him or her to share a hall with students of the opposite sex. Or it might simply mean that the student simply has personal standards of modesty that make him or her uncomfortable sharing a coed bathroom.
And, yes, I can understand your concern that an off-the-deep-end right-wing religious type might also be homophobic. That is, unfortunately, all too often the case. But we're talking about young people here, who may or may not agree with all the teachings of their church (or temple) elders. So, a young person might have no problem accepting certain standards of modesty (no coed housing, please!), while rejecting other more extreme facets of the belief system. In other words, if the student is more comfortable in single sex housing, and it makes his or her parents happy, then why not? But that doesn't mean the student necessarily agrees with all of his or her parents' views.
I said: "I think that the exception is people whose social conservativism rises to what my generation widely considers to be bigotry. If you hate gays, you're unlikely to find Brown to be a welcoming place."
Since I made it clear that I was talking about an exception, I'm not sure how that would be taken as implying that "conservatives are usually or even often homophobic."
dodgersmom: One thing that may alleviate your friends' concerns is that even in coed housing situations, nothing really untoward (IMHO) in terms of modesty really occurs. People don't walk around in their underwear -- it'd be socially just not acceptable. Even in coed bathrooms, people go wearing robes and flipflops-- guys might be more inclined to go with towels. In general, on a floor, you tend to view your floormates as buddies whom you want to protect -- not make uncomfortable. But that presumes no nut-case is in the mix too....
We have a conservative view on modesty but I think I'd feel comfortable w/my daughter in a coed floor if she was OK with it.
Frankly I think coed floors moderate some of the excesses of the guys. In all guys housing, they get rather disgusting and crass left to their own devices. (I don't know if your friend's child is male or female)
My D lived on a female-only wing in Andrews her freshman year. One wing of the floor was all-male and the other was all-female. The floor was separated by a large central staircase, so the wings were very much separated, and the bathrooms were obviously also single sex. My D opted for single gender because she wanted to be in Andrews (larger rooms and nice windows, sinks in rooms), and she "heard" that all of the single genders were placed in Andrews. I'm not sure if this is still the case, especially with the recent dorm renovations. More than half of her hall mates were Muslim, from religious conservative families, and she was the only christian among them. My impression was that most of them chose single-sex because either they or their parents were wary/unsure about co-ed floors/bathrooms, not because they wanted a specific dorm.
Now a junior, my D has roomed with the same group of girls in other dorms. They have been in co-ed dorms in suites, with four suites per floor and one bathroom. This year her floor consists of 1 male, 1 co-ed, and 2 female suite-groups. The suite groups arrange to live together, so although these co-ed groups share a bathroom, they requested to be with their suite mates. I'm not aware of any co-ed bathrooms at Brown other than these type of suite groups. Some may be informally that way, but I've visited dorms in the fall at move-in, and noticed large handwritten signs on the female bathrooms that say, "Women Only - Guy's Down the Hall," because, frankly, most women usually don't want guys using their bathroom. My impression from my D is that most people are very respectful of other's modesty and personal boundaries.
Thank you, T26E4 and Gourmetmom, for your replies! I can definitely see the advantages of coed housing, especially for guys. Having a floor (or hall) full of "sisters" would be an experience that would probably benefit most young men. But it's good to know that there are alternatives for those students who aren't comfortable with coed housing, and to know that the students who select that option won't end up feeling isolated.