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Hillsdale dor­mi­tories are single-sex dorms where many other schools are for both sexes, but Hillsdale still allows for vis­i­tation. Madeleine Barry | Col­legian

It’s an unusual sight on most cam­puses, but a common one in Hillsdale’s dorms: posted vis­iting hours noting when opposite-sex stu­dents can visit the women’s and men’s dorms.

Despite 90 percent of schools housing stu­dents in co-ed dor­mi­tories, according to a study in the Journal of American College Health, Hillsdale College main­tains its single-sex dorms.

“We’re not telling the stu­dents where to live and how to live, but we’re teaching them the fun­da­mental prin­ciples that will bless their lives,” Asso­ciate Dean of Men Jeffery Rogers said. “We’re learning and growing here. It’s a process, and it’s beau­tiful to watch.”

Hillsdale has three men’s dorms and eight women’s dorms, in addition to the Suites. All of them are single-sex, except for the Suites, where a men’s wing and women’s wing are sep­a­rated by key swipes.

Each dorm also has restricted in-room vis­i­tation hours for the opposite sex. Women’s dorms allow in-room vis­i­tation from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Tuesday evenings, noon to 1 a.m. on Friday and Sat­urday evenings, and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday. Men’s dorms have similar hours, except they allow women on Wednesday and not Tuesday.

Admin­is­tration cited the college’s Christian mission statement as well as prac­tical rea­soning for main­taining single-sex dorms.

“Young women are getting to learn about them­selves, and you want to learn it in a sis­terhood not with a broth­erhood mixed in,” Rogers said, adding that men would have to “change who they were to accom­modate females in their space.”

Rogers also stressed the growth and bonding that takes place in the dorms, saying having mixed-gender dorms would be a dis­traction.

Dean of Women Diane Philipp said it is part of the school’s respon­si­bility to provide a lifestyle free of dis­trac­tions asso­ciated with co-ed housing.

“I have had con­ver­sa­tions with many stu­dents five, 10, and many years after grad­u­ation, and they share that their res­i­dence-hall life with their male friends and girl friends without the dis­traction of co-ed housing was one of the best expe­ri­ences of their time at Hillsdale,” Philipp said.

But the decision to pro­hibit co-ed dorms has become a dis­gruntlement for some stu­dents who claim that a college pro­moting self-gov­ernment while simul­ta­ne­ously imposing restric­tions on stu­dents and dorming is con­tra­dictory.

“It’s not that we don’t trust the stu­dents,” Rogers said. “Trust is not the issue.”

Freshman Luke Grzywacz, who lives in Simpson Res­i­dence, said while he would support the idea of a mixed-gender dorm, he under­stands having single-sex housing. His problem, rather, lies with vis­iting hours, he said.

“Lim­iting the vis­iting hours pre­tends that college stu­dents don’t stay up with people who are not the same gender as them past mid­night,” Grzywacz said. “We’re a college that pro­motes indi­vidual respon­si­bility, but we don’t trust our stu­dents to interact with each other in a private setting without having some sort of dra­conian vis­iting-hour rule in place. It’s kind of absurd.”

Others, however, said the rules com­mu­nicate a com­mitment to the college’s mission and beliefs.

“In today’s day and age, with a lot of con­fusion about gender roles and men and women, it’s a really clear statement of what we believe in,” said senior Griffith Brown, a Simpson res­ident assistant. “We come to study and to learn, and part of having the single-gender dorm that way is to focus on that goal.”

Junior Emily Barnum, head res­ident assistant in Olds Res­i­dence, agreed having sep­arate dorms for men and women raises Hillsdale as an example to other col­leges.

“I think Hillsdale College bears a unique and vital role in America today as a bulwark of tra­dition and con­ser­v­ative values,” Barnum said in an email. “We have many eyes on us — those who agree and those who don’t. I think one chal­lenge we face in the ’Dale is to live out on campus the ideals that we champion in the classroom.”

And those ideals, it seems, are here to stay.

“Most col­leges are co-ed; we’re dif­ferent,” Rogers said. “We’re still going to hold steady. That makes us Hillsdale.”

 

  • disqus_odKVC5cL1k

    Don’t think the dorm setup is all that unique. So called co-ed dorms are rarely such. Split by floor, suites, or apart­ments are common, nearly all have open hours. The flip flopping between dorms is somewhat strange, if you have set up a study space in one place, having to have two because you can’t study in one of them every other day is silly. Most schools have female only dorms at a minimum, but not the flip flopping open hours. If you don’t think mixed floors are a dis­traction, you’re fooling yourself.