How To Undress For Your College Roommate 101

April 26th, 2009 at 11:26 am | 9 Comments |

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Here’s the conversation I wish I’d had with my daughter:

“Honey, remember how you hated it when your father was a student and you had to share a room with your brother? How you worried that he was watching you dress? Hang on to that feeling – it’s called common sense modesty. It’s a good warning signal, and it will keep you safe.”

Here’s the conversation my friend wishes she’d had with her son:

“Sweetheart, forget everything I taught you about being a gentleman. Protect yourself and forget about your women friends. Leave them to the campus escort service. Leave them to the campus police.”

Here’s what happened to my daughter:

Over the course of four years, the campus culture taught her that there were no differences between men and women. She learned that men and women were interchangeable. In due time, she found herself – involuntarily, and in violation of the terms of the university’s policy and her housing contract – sharing a quad bedroom with one other young woman and two male roommates in the latest campus rooming arrangement: “gender neutral housing”. But she wasn’t upset; “It’s not a big deal, Mom,” she told me. She doesn’t understand why her father and I are angry at the university, which gave us no opportunity to discuss the issue with her. Which failed to post the policy on their “parent” page on housing. Which failed to warn parents that their policy had changed to allow this travesty of sensible rooming arrangements in order to better accommodate their transsexual students. Which failed to enforce the limitations on the policy it had created.   But then, she had already taken advantage of our ignorance to choose a dorm where she knew enforcement of housing policies was nonexistent. We learned a lot about Stanford housing arrangements after the fact. 

Here’s what happened to my friend’s son:

One night at the end of his sophomore year, he was at a party. A woman friend and her roommate were out late, and he volunteered to escort them home, for safety’s sake. At their dorm, he found himself too tired (or otherwise under the weather) to return to his own dorm. The friend’s roommate offered him her bed. He climbed in and fell asleep, he says, until morning. In the night – and I still find this astonishing – the young woman climbed into bed with him. According to her, he reached over.  She admits that he “might have been asleep.” She told him “no,” removed his hand, and nothing further happened. Back in the day, this would have been a feminist’s dream response. But no more. The young woman reported him to the university, which expelled him after a process in which hundreds of students have been found guilty of violating campus policies, but not one – not a single one – has been exonerated. After much effort and expense by his parents, he was allowed to continue his studies. He may not room on campus, and he may only be present on campus to attend classes.

I wish I had a good solution to offer other parents. Perhaps you should read the campus paper every day. That would have told us about the proposed policy, although only an insider’s awareness would have told us that Stanford would have no interest in enforcing its policy in certain dorms. Perhaps you should research the campus disciplinary procedures. That would have told my friend about the kangaroo court her son would face, although nothing but experience would have told her that young women now climb into bed with their roommates’ friends expecting no consequences. 

My daughter is at a “prestigious” school; my friend’s son is at a large state university. Others have told us their solutions: trust what you’ve taught your kids (well, we both did that); send them to a military academy; send them to a technical school, where students are too busy for this post-modern nonsense; send them to a religious college; require that they live at home. The reality is that college is a gamble: some few will graduate with their moral values intact.  Many more will spend years discarding and rebuilding after the ruin left by the moral values of the colleges and universities they attended.

I am not sure what educational course we will follow with our other children. But one thing we will make clear: the college may link attendance with our payments, but we will link our payments (and our cooperation concerning payments) to both the college’s policies and to our children’s behavior.  We will no longer pay for higher education to reshape our children’s moral landscape.

Here’s what the students learn: all students are equal, but some students are more equal than others. Women are stripped of modesty and common sense. Men are threatened with (and given) draconian punishments, so that they will not respond normally to immodest behavior – and remember, I’m not talking about rape. These are the moral lessons of the modern university. Consider them carefully when you’re putting down that deposit this week.

Recent Posts by Karin Morin



9 Comments so far ↓

  • Amorak

    This article gives me the creeps. I thought the denizens of this site were conservatives dedicated to personal freedom and responsibility. Well, post-secondary institutions treat students as free and autonomous people, both legally and intellectually. These students, our children, have the right to that freedom and are held responsible for using it wisely. When “The Kids” go off to college or university, they are kids no more.Parents, when they pay for their child’s education, must consider that their money is being paid to the child and not to the institution. The institution certainly considers that to be the case. As a college instructor, I cannot discuss any aspect of a student’s college life with a third party, including parents, except in the presence of and permission from the student. Sadly, when I have parents show up to discuss their adult children, seldom do I have any difficulty understanding the ineptness of their children. When it’s time, let your children go. Give them love and sanctuary but otherwise free them and let them solve their own problems. Let them pay the price that we all have to pay for bad judgment. Above all, stop blaming your child’s issues on everybody else.It’s easy to demand freedom, this web site is dedicated to it. It’s obviously not quite so easy to respect the freedom of others, especially the freedom and rights of our children, nor is it ever easy to accept responsibility for the misuse of our freedoms. Yet, is there a better lesson to give our children?

  • sinz54

    Amorak: Stanford University’s stated policy has been that mixed-gender (“gender neutral”) housing is a voluntary *option* for students. No one is supposed to be forced into mixed-gender housing against their will.Instead, what Stanford has apparently done (from other reports I’ve read) is make mixed-gender housing the default, unless the student explicitly notifies the University that s/he wants to opt out of it.That’s a classic case of “bait and switch.” If enough students at Stanford were unhappy about this, they could institute legal action against the University.But Mrs. Morin doesn’t have standing to take action against Stanford, unless she has some other leverage. It’s really up to her *daughter* to tell Stanford whether she finds these housing arrangements unacceptable.

  • Amorak

    I agree with you, sinz54, but I squirm a bit over the self-bestowed “rights” that parents assume when they’re footing the bill. As stated by both you and the author, it’s up to the students to take action against the institution as seems to be required in the Stanford case. But the author wonders about “what educational course we will follow with our other children” and states, “We will no longer pay for higher education to reshape our childrens moral landscape.” It’s best to get over that because neither the university nor the parents will have much affect on moral landscape after the “child” leaves home. In my university days of the late 60′s the problem was “Sex and drugs and rock ‘n roll.” Neither the university nor my parents were going to change that world. That rebellion defined my generation. (As I’ve always told my kids, that old rock ‘n roll will get you every time.)

  • Bulldoglover100

    While I feel for the horrid trouble you and your friend’s son had to endure, it does not appear to me to be the fault of the University. Your children made poor choices. Period. Your “children” are merging into adulthood and will make good and bad choices and one hopes they learn from them but to expect a University to take the place of parents and their value sysytem is ludicrious. To expect the University to hold your hand and force feed you every policy that they enact is ludicrious. It is your child’s job now to be informed in the decisions that affect their life and apparently your daughter was….and she chose not to share that information with you.

  • ModerateGal

    What is the point of this article relative to this web site? I seem to be missing something.This sentence:”But then, she had already taken advantage of our ignorance to choose a dorm where she knew enforcement of housing policies was nonexistent.”seems to be more of a complaint against your daughter, not the university.And why is sharing a suite (not a bed) a moral problem anyway?Your daughter might share more with you if you weren’t so prudish.

  • sinz54

    ModerateGal: The point is in the last paragraph: “Women are stripped of modesty and common sense. Men are threatened with (and given) draconian punishments, so that they will not respond normally to immodest behavior and remember, Im not talking about rape. These are the moral lessons of the modern university.”I think what the author is suggesting (and she should have offered more data beyond just her own daughter) is that society actively discourages today’s young people from sexual modesty and sexual privacy–let alone from virginity. If true, this represents a 180 degree shift from 50 years ago, when flaunting sexuality, promiscuity and premarital sex were considered acts of shame.

  • Bulldoglover100

    WOMEN have a choice at ANY University. NO ONE is being stripped of anything. This woman’s daughter was INFORMED of the changes and SHE chose to not inform her parents. The problem is with this woman’s relationship with her daughter, not the University.We must NEVER attempt to take choices away from people, regardless of party, ever.If this owman is unhappy? sounds like she needs to pull her daughter from that school and move her if she is paying for it and feels this strongly but I suspect she is one of those who has allowed the daughter to get away with everything under the sun while she blames everyone else. The daughter runs the house and the rules. That’s apparent.

  • ModerateGal

    And Ms. Morin states: “Over the course of four years, the campus culture taught her that there were no differences between men and women.”So, therefore, the daughter is probably 22 years old. She is a grown woman. This isn’t an 18 year-old, and there is indeed a difference. I think it is incredibly disingenuous and probably rather obtuse for this woman to blame the daughter’s changing views on “the campus culture”. The daughter is growing up and away from the mother, and her views are likely different than her mother’s.And it does seem rather ridiculous for the title of this article/complaint to be “HOW TO UNDRESS FOR YOUR COLLEGE ROOMMATE 101″. I mean, really. It makes the author sound like a hysterical old lady.

  • Carney

    It may be helpful for an actual conservative to respond to this article, with thanks and and endorsement, in a small counter-action to the predictable torrent of hipper-than-thou dismissals from cultural leftists seeking to push along the systematic dismantling of all healthy, traditional social norms.