Townhouses may go coed

Mara Village may open its doors to coed living.

By Robert Vater

Are Fitchburg State College students ready to live in coed housing?
Last semester, the Student Government Association surveyed students about whether they would want to have coed townhouses. Since then,  SGA has been working with housing and residential services on the possibility of offering coed housing as an option to students.
“Personally, all I can do is see what the students want and talk to housing about it,” says Emma McHugh, housing representative for SGA.
The idea of making townhouses coed was a goal from the previous school year. At the campus forum on Nov. 3, 2009, Housing Director AnnMarie Dunton was asked whether this would be an option for students. Working with McHugh, she conducted a survey; almost all who responded were for going coed. The problem was, not enough people responded.
“Only 10 percent of the students responded to the surveys, but 153 people out of the 160 said yes,” says McHugh.
Dunton adds, “Students want it, so it’s definitely something to try.”
Dunton plans to write up a proposal to be reviewed by the college. Though it is still in the “goal stage” right now, if the proposal goes through, Dunton says, “On the 2011-2012 housing application it [coed town houses] will be an option.”
This however, would be a pilot program; in other words, they’d be testing it out for the 2011-2012 school year.
According to McHugh, not only students are for it – so is the president of the school, Robert V. Antonucci. She says the president believes that “if students want them [coed townhouses], then they should have them.”
Co-ed living does challenge some more “traditional” views. Even Dunton says she had trouble at first with the concept. According to McHugh, the main issue was that parents may not feel comfortable with their sons or daughters living with the opposite sex. McHugh believes instead, “This is a step towards maturing further. We are supposed to be adults.”
“Other schools are doing it; we need to move along with the times,” says Dunton.