Outside-The-Box Idea Not Exactly Welcomed By Everyone

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?

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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.

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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

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