right arrow
Informational Message Stay on top of the information you need to navigate the admissions process amid the COVID-19 pandemic. We've got articles, videos and forum discussions that provide answers to all of your test prep, admissions and college search questions.   Visit our COVID-19 resource page.

Introducing Kai!
Your College Confidential guide bot.


Kai can provide tips and support as you research and apply to colleges, and explore majors and careers.





Chat with Kai
here, 24/7!


or Skip Forever

Has COVID spoiled your campus visit plans? Meet with 50+ schools at our virtual college fair College Fair tomorrow, Sept. 29! Register NOW!
PARENTS4PARENTS: AfroPuffMom is the mother of two boys, a college junior and a high school junior. She has extensive experience reviewing applications for high-achieving, first-generation students. ASK HER ANYTHING!
Make sure to check out our September Checklist for HS Seniors. Consult these quick resources to get you started on the process this month.

Co-ed bathroom in dorms - am I crazy and how can I find out details from schools on our list?

1679111215

Replies to: Co-ed bathroom in dorms - am I crazy and how can I find out details from schools on our list?

  • donnaleighgdonnaleighg 1548 replies33 threads Senior Member
    ^and I'm not even sure how relevant Smith is. I mean, are they going to designate a whole bathroom just for the use of the occasional male visitor? Makes no sense.
    · Reply · Share
  • blossomblossom 10551 replies9 threads Senior Member
    We're on page 11 about the outrage of coed bathrooms and yet only Smith has shown up as a "you won't get a designated single sex bathroom in college" place.

    But let's keep the outrage going.
    · Reply · Share
  • momofthreeboysmomofthreeboys 16651 replies66 threads Senior Member
    I haven’t seen any outrage on the thread. There is a thread on this almost every year since 2009 or 2010 when this started popping up at some Eastern colleges with more frequency. Oberlin might have had it earlier but I can’t remember from threads years ago.
    · Reply · Share
  • doschicosdoschicos 26932 replies270 threads Senior Member
    "since 2009 or 2010 when this started popping up at some Eastern colleges with more frequency"

    You seem to have missed the frequent posts here from parents mentioning that we had coed dorms/restrooms back in the 70s and 80s. This isn't a newish phenomenon or even from 2009-10. And I didn't go to Oberlin but a larger university.
    · Reply · Share
  • 4kids4us4kids4us 1199 replies4 threads Senior Member
    I'm not outraged by it, but since I had no experience with co-ed bathrooms, nor with co-ed by room dorms, it wasn't something that had ever entered my mind. I went to a Catholic university where dorms were either single sex, or co-ed by floor. When D, who is a freshman, and I were touring, most of the dorms we visited were either suite-style with own bathroom, the room had its own bathroom, or the dorm was co-ed by floor with single sex bathrooms. I only recall one dorm that was co-ed by room by the rooms were suites with the shared bathroom in-between two rooms with either all girls or all boys. It honestly never even crossed my mind that there are dorms out there where guys and girls are taking showers or using toilets in a shared multi-person bathroom at the end of the hall. The school she chose does not have co-ed floors or bathrooms. D's room has its own bathroom.

    While I have no idea if this ever would be a deal breaker for my kids, I'm fairly sure that none of them would actually choose it (I have two boys and two girls who share one hall bath - there is no being in the bathroom together going on here as I hear the fighting going on all the time when someone is in the bathroom too long). If they did choose it, it wouldn't bother me as they would be the ones having to adjust to it, not me.

    I'm guessing that like me, many of my Catholic-college educated peers are also unaware about co-ed bathrooms. I think I mentioned upthread that a friend of mine expressed surprise to me when visiting her son at a Catholic university that there were coed bathrooms. The bathrooms were set up with shared sinks, but then the toilets/showers were single use with a locked door off the room with the sinks. This friend went to our huge state flagship, not a Catholic school like I did, so perhaps she had not experienced co-ed bathrooms in school either, or at least did not expect to see them when she moved her son into a his dorm at a Catholic university. So even though it's obviously not a new phenomenon, there are plenty of parents out there who have no experience with it.
    · Reply · Share
  • tutumom2001tutumom2001 1218 replies3 threads Senior Member
    I went to a state school in the 80s and we didn't have co-ed dorms, much less co-ed floors with one exception ... there was a dorm for married people, but it was more like an apartment and didn't have community bathrooms in the first place. The rest of us all had single-sex dorms with community bathrooms and you had to stand outside the door if someone from the opposite sex was inside. So, yes, in my neck of the woods this is a "new phenomenon."
    · Reply · Share
  • alhalh 8979 replies49 threads Senior Member
    edited October 2017
    I started college in 1974 at a southern state flagship. First year I had my choice of a single sex dorm, no men allowed except in the entry hall, and with curfews and a desk monitor signing us in and out all day and night, or a hippy, artsy, co-ed dorm with no curfew or rules. The co-ed dorm officially had single sex bathrooms but in practice bathrooms were shared by all in the dorm and their visitors. After first year I moved into a sorority house. Officially no men were allowed anywhere but in downstairs public spaces and were signed in and out by someone stationed in the entry hall. Unoffically, boyfriends regularly climbed right up the columns and balcony to the third floor to stay overnight. So the third floor frequently had co-ed bathrooms. Any woman who found it problematic either lived on the second floor or just walked down one flight when men were staying over. We also had a huge game/play room on the third floor couples could utilze so it wasn't necessary to intrude on roommates. In spite of official rules and regulations, we just all worked these issues out among ourselves. If someone had too many sleepover guests, sometimes she was asked to please start spending some nights at his place. Looking back, there were a whole lot of good reasons to have the men come to an environment we controlled. It was a lot safer than a fraternity house. Having grown up in a large family, compromise with regard to living situations was not a new experience for me.. I can't really remember this being a problem for anyone in the sorority house, and don't think it ever occured to any of us we needed to follow the official rules we'd been given. Of course, our sorority house mother and our parents (mostly) had no idea.

    I really can't remember those third floor bathrooms ever being an issue. There were two large bathrooms, each with rows of toilets and showers and sinks and assigned cubbies. Maybe we just assigned one sometimes to the men. I really can't remember; it was such a non-issue. I do know there was never really any discussion about it and men took showers at our house. And walked back and forth in a towel sometimes.
    edited October 2017
    · Reply · Share
  • alhalh 8979 replies49 threads Senior Member
    edited October 2017
    #163
    There is a thread on this almost every year since 2009 or 2010 when this started popping up at some Eastern colleges with more frequency. Oberlin might have had it earlier but I can’t remember from threads years ago.

    This is just not true. Co-ed bathrooms were not uncommon at schools up and down the east coast when we began touring colleges in the late 90s while on family vacations. And I'm pretty sure we had threads on this prior to 2009. So it seems to me, your experience is limited and potentially misleading. This is nothing new, even if you were unaware.

    It isn't surprising to me it may be a new idea for some families, and I am sympathetic to the OP, and anyone else, who finds the situation unexpected and potentially uncomfortable. This board is a very good place to get college information, even about bathrooms. A lot of posters, who do have experience with a variety of colleges nationwide, took the time to write and provide correct, and reassuring, information about the question the OP asked. For the life of me, I have no idea what the rest of this thread is really about.

    adding:

    http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/massachusetts-institute-technology/22585-coed-bathrooms.html

    ^a thread from 2004. Prior to 2004 this board was on a different site, and I don't know if earlier threads even show up in a search. There are 39 pages of these threads when I do a search for thread titles with the word "bathroom". It should not be a new issue for long-time posters like Momofthreeboys.

    Again, for some parents of new colleges students, it is a new issue. And this is the right place to ask. And folks are happy to help you.
    edited October 2017
    · Reply · Share
  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 25280 replies20 threads Senior Member
    "I mean, are they going to designate a whole bathroom just for the use of the occasional male visitor? Makes no sense"

    Yet single sex dorms and sorority houses and convents have done just that for decades.

    My sorority had a guest room, with a bathroom, and that's what male visitors used. My daughter's sorority house has that too, a bathroom on the main floor for guests to use (they have a male cook and hashers), right here in the 21st century. And I wouldn't call them 'occasional male visitors' at Smith. Our tour leader proudly said that many student's boyfriends (or girlfriends) basically lived with the student, in the room, whether they were singles or doubles. This turned me off more than the co-ed bathrooms, as it seemed there was no privacy nor could one expect privacy or to only share your room with one roommate. When someone asked about whether roommates objected to this, the tour guide just shrugged and said that's the way it is.

    At a women's school, why would it be a big deal to designate one bathroom as male or co-ed, and leave all the rest as for women only? At least they were up front about it and said all bathrooms (and all bedrooms) were open to all and my daughter could make an informed decision. She wasn't interested.
    · Reply · Share
  • blossomblossom 10551 replies9 threads Senior Member
    Two- I would not have encouraged my kids to consider ANY college which was ok with a non-rent paying tenant in my kids dorm. The liability issue alone (what risk manager at Smith thinks that giving access to dorms on a 24/7 basis is a rational idea?) would put the kibosh on it for me.

    The bathroom issue is secondary based on what you are now posting! My kids lived in all sorts of living situations. There was an occasional overnight visitor to one of my kids suites. The other suitemates called a meeting and told this student that they were not interested in sharing their bathroom, common room (and snacks in the fridge), or hallway with a fulltime romantic partner so it was time to figure out an alternative arrangement before they got the RA involved.

    problem solved. Have no clue how.
    · Reply · Share
  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 25280 replies20 threads Senior Member
    I think the message that was trying to be conveyed was that Smith is open to all (except at that time to transgendered people born male), that they were all so open and sophisticated and worldly that they shared with the visitors and parents that nothing was off limits, including sex in dorm rooms (but the bathroom had a sign requesting there not be sex in the showers).

    The more she talked, the more my daughter was turned off. My daughter really liked the educational opportunities, but didn't like anything else. Since there are so many other schools in the world, why pick one where there was a big negative to her? Her host that weekend was a high school friend who was a shy girl from the south and I think she was a little overwhelmed in her first few weeks there. She transferred after a year. I'm sure it wasn't over bathrooms.

    I think the point is that open and co-ed are not for everyone. Some people still like more privacy. I know many people who don't use public restrooms, even at their offices. If the school has other options, the OP wanted to know how to find them. If the school doesn't have other options, let the touring students know and they can decide. There have been students on CC who will only consider schools that let freshmen have singles, or live off campus, or don't have to take a meal plan. It's just one more box on the checklist of needs, wants, deal breakers.
    · Reply · Share
  • millie210millie210 524 replies24 threads Member
    @blossom I'm not really understanding your first paragraph.

    Basically moving your significant other into your shared room is just rude, regardless of rules, liability, etc.

    But not allowing access 24/7? Who does that besides very religious colleges?

    I spent plenty of time in dorms not my own at very late hours. Sometimes I was just hanging out or studying with friends. Sometimes I was spending the night in my boyfriend's single. Do you really want the RA's making a sweep of the dorm every night at midnight or or 1 am or whenever, checking each room, throwing out all non-residents and then setting a lock that won't allow non-residents back into the building until 7 am? Are we going to return to parietal hours and signing in and out of dorms?

    And what serious risks are you foreseeing for me being in my boyfriend's room (or vice versa) at 3 am that the school should be worried about?
    · Reply · Share
  • blossomblossom 10551 replies9 threads Senior Member
    Millie, not every romantic partner is an enrolled student in the college. We toured one urban college (in a rapidly transitioning neighborhood, but still urban) where we were told that it was tough during freshman year getting the kids to understand that they couldn't leave a fire door open with a cinder block to allow for easy access for friends who wanted to bypass the security desk (which took driver's licenses or student ID's so there was a log of every visitor, plus the visitors face on the videocam). Fire doors have a safety purpose. Logging in visitors has a safety purpose. Kids don't like to be inconvenienced. When do the adults get involved? At many urban universities there IS a sign in/sign out system. Do you want every creep or drug dealer in town having access to your kids room with absolutely no way to determine who is going in and out of the dorm?

    None of my kids ended up living with a third party, unregistered student in their dorms. An occasional romantic partner is one thing. A semi-permanent dude setting himself up with free wifi without going to class, paying rent, or any oversight as to who he is? Sorry, I'm not that open-minded.

    I'm not worried about you and your BF at 3 am. I'm worried about the 16 year old HS girl who meets a guy at a party. Or the local sex offender who wanders into an open dorm entrance without ID or needing an electronic key, pass, or other security device. My kids all ended up at urban universities which took safety very, very seriously.
    · Reply · Share
  • doschicosdoschicos 26932 replies270 threads Senior Member
    "I think the message that was trying to be conveyed was that Smith is open to all (except at that time to transgendered people born male), that they were all so open and sophisticated and worldly that they shared with the visitors and parents that nothing was off limits, including sex in dorm rooms (but the bathroom had a sign requesting there not be sex in the showers)."

    My guess is the tour guide was just being open and honest about how Smith is. The "they were all so open and sophisticated and worldly" is your interpretation based on your own biases. But you're right, doesn't sound like a good fit for your family. As far as sex in dorm rooms, that is going to happen regardless of the school with the exception of a handful of religious, conservative schools.

    To @blossom's point, we all get different strokes for different folks but absent the Smith College example, no one else has mentioned a campus where a single sex bathroom residential set-up isn't an option somewhere on campus.
    · Reply · Share
  • HannaHanna 14866 replies42 threads Senior Member
    "But not allowing access 24/7? Who does that besides very religious colleges?"

    A lot of schools have visiting hours, or only allow you to host a guest past a certain hour if you register your guest days in advance.
    · Reply · Share
  • millie210millie210 524 replies24 threads Member
    @blossom @Hanna Gotcha. That makes sense. I was thinking about my experience at Wesleyan, but, of course, not every college is in a smallish town in the middle of Connecticut.
    · Reply · Share
  • romanigypsyeyesromanigypsyeyes 34229 replies771 threads Senior Member
    My public uni had 24/7 dorm access. After midnight, you had to come in through the main door and be checked in, but as long as you were with someone who was supposed to be in the dorm, it was fine.

    I actually can't even remember if you had to live in the dorm or just be a confirmed student to get in.
    · Reply · Share
  • doschicosdoschicos 26932 replies270 threads Senior Member
    A lot of smaller schools with relatively safe campuses don't have any check-in procedure, no front desk. You have your card to swipe and you'd have to swipe in a guest but that is all.
    · Reply · Share
  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 25280 replies20 threads Senior Member
    " no one else has mentioned a campus where a single sex bathroom residential set-up isn't an option somewhere on campus. "

    But that's all the OP was asking - are there options they should be requesting as they don't want to move into a dorm and find out on Day 1 that this wing is voting for co-ed bathrooms and it's too late to do anything about it. Suggestions have been to request an all male or all female dorm, a private room with bath, a suite, or a more conservative school.

    My daughter's dorm did not vote. She lived on a female wing and all the bathrooms on that wing were for females. Females who had an ID to swipe into the bathroom. On co-ed floors, there were female bathrooms and male bathrooms, often right next to each other, but you still needed to swipe into the one you were assigned to. No voting. The bathrooms were quite small, just two stalls and two showers in a second room past the sink/toilet room.

    So, the co-ed revolution hasn't hit every school yet.
    · Reply · Share
  • circuitridercircuitrider 4218 replies185 threads Senior Member
    Interesting turn in the conversation. I lived in the same dorms as @millie210 and, I'm stunned by how many colleges require students to keep the doors to their rooms shut at all times - even when they're inside and just seated at their desks.
    · Reply · Share
This discussion has been closed.

Recent Activity