Outside-The-Box Idea Not Exactly Welcomed By EveryoneBy Peter Haskell

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Rutgers University said Tuesday it’s a way of becoming more welcoming to gay students — co-ed dorm rooms for gay and straight students.

But will it fly with parents and others?

CBS 2’s Magee Hickey reports on how the New Brunswick campus is mixing up its housing program.

Jaycee Wissner is a self-described transgendered student who is thrilled that starting next fall the dorm she lives in — Demerast Hall — will offer students the option of co-ed dorm rooms.

“For me, it’s a necessity because it’s either be able to choose a roommate that I am comfortable with or stay in a single for the rest of my college years, which is not what I want to do,” Wissner said.

The pilot program at three dorms was requested by lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgendered and questioning students, often referred to as “LGBTQ,” after the suicide of Tyler Clementi, who killed himself after his roommate allegedly used a webcam to watch him have sex with another male.

Some students told WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell that giving gay, lesbian and transgender students an option is a good idea.

WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell speaks with students about the co-ed living

Rutgers would only issue the following brief statement: “In the aftermath of the Clementi tragedy, members of the LGBTQ community told the administration that gender-neutral housing would help create an even more inclusive environment. Since then the university has been exploring this in greater detail.”

Tyler Clementi (credit: Facebook)

Some students and parents have concerns, mostly privacy issues about co-ed bathrooms.

Demerast Hall has had co-ed bathrooms for years. Some modifications have been made. There are no curtains on the shower stalls. Instead, there’s a door.

“I was against even the bathrooms being co-ed. That’s why she’s getting a new apartment and moving out of here,” parent Saeed Paydar said.

Some students told 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg that they don’t think their parents would approve

Heterosexual students would also have the option of selecting a roommate of the opposite sex.

“I don’t know how I feel about it. I have friends who are guys who I’d like to live with — as long as it’s not mandatory,” sophomore Samira Paydar said.

“It could be a distraction for the individuals living together. I think there’s a reason why it’s usually boys and boys and girls and girls,” freshman Jarrett Mond said.

“I don’t really agree with that, my parents wouldn’t approve of that and I don’t think it’s appropriate,” one student told 1010 WINS’ Sandberg.

Other students also cited possible obstacles of living with someone of the opposite sex.

“Cleanliness, that would definitely get under my skin,” a female student said.

Only 100 students will be in gender-neutral housing next fall.

Rutgers-Newark will also offer a similar gender-neutral housing option next fall, but it will be limited to three rooms in just two dorms.

What do you think? Is the change better for students? Do you think this policy should be adopted by all schools? Let us know below

Comments (16)
  1. ericm says:

    I think we should consult with the LGBTQ on how to handle every situation in our lives. As a matter of fact, I think heterosexual people should NEVER be allowed to voice their opinions about anything, because they usually disagree with LGBTQ folks, and that simply isn’t acceptable.

    I also think Moamar Gaddafi should be allowed to kill all his own citizens if he wants to. Hey, he IS the boss, isn’t he?

    Oh…and Charlie Sheen should be given a license to do as many drugs as he sees fit. Afterall, he’s an actor, and they should be given special privileges.

    1. AshleyD says:

      I think we should consult with the church about how to handle every situation in our lives. In fact, I think otherwise moral people should NEVER be allowed to voice their opinion on anything, because they usually disagree with archaic religious standards and that simply isn’t acceptable.

      I also think pastors and pope’s should be able to do whatever they want. Hey, there are closer to God, aren’t they?

      Oh… and the Tea party should be allowed to override civil rights. Afterall, they’re rich and should be given special privileges.

  2. kds says:

    If the student is of legal age, 18, then they are legally able to choose how to dorm.

  3. Jerry says:

    Better supply condoms and penicillen

  4. Adam Clifton says:

    Wow are you freaking kidding me? The Tyler Clementi incident involved kissing not sex. It’s obvious that the reporter was trying to spice up the story. This is the problem with the media.

  5. NYC Cabbie says:

    Oh man, I would have tongue punched a lot of f@rt boxes if 1) I went to college 2) there were coed dorms there.

  6. Sarah says:

    Enough with this junk…my tax money shouldn’t go to allowing LGBTQ (how much longer is the acronym going to get) shacking up!

    1. Jane says:

      but you would rather have your tax money go twards wild parties and raging sex by heterosexuals!?!?

      1. Sarah says:

        I don’t want that either actually!

      2. DH says:

        Those go on anyway. So your comment is bogus!

    2. Michael H. says:


      You didn’t think this through. LGBT students could already shack up with each other. Males together and females together. Now any students can opt to live with any student of their choosing, whether male or female.

      How, exactly, is this affecting your tax dollars? The same students are living in the same dorm rooms. They just have more options of whom to room with now.

    3. Jaycee Wissner says:

      What the hell are you talking about? This is going toward not having to watch another parent bury their kid. I’m the same Jaycee from the newscast, and I’m just saying, for some people this means their education, and the initiative is not for LGBTTQQIAA (yes, really) kids to “shack up”. Don’t be so quick to condemn a program that’s going to save educations and make lives easier for everyone.

    4. M says:

      But even if you divide housing by sex, two lesbian women or two gay men could be roommates and “shacking up” as you say.

      BTW, I lived in gender-neutral housing as an undergraduate and never “shacked up” with my male roommates.

  7. Stephanie Donald says:

    I think it should be a matter of choice for the individual student and not forced upon any one person.

    1. Michael H. says:

      Who is it being forced on? Students choose their roommates and can elect to not live in one of these gender neutral dorms.

      1. Jaycee Wissner says:

        Not even that much, you HAVE to request to be in it. What they didn’t air me saying was the ACTUAL process of how the dorming will work.

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