SBU avoids co-ed housing, Canisius refines it

Male and female Bona students have lived on the same floor, but only on rare situations

By Kelly O’Dell, guest writer

ST. BONAVENTURE (March 24) – On the last selection day of their freshman year, juniors Marissa Morill and Cassie Stubbs entered The Reilly Center, thinking they would be choosing their housing.

With no more rooms available, Morill, Stubbs and about 30 other St. Bonaventure University students wrote their desired roommates on a list.

“We didn’t know where we were living until August — when bills came out,” said Stubbs, a journalism and mass communication major.

Morill and Stubbs lived on Falconio Hall’s first floor — on which both men and women lived — last year.

If it would better utilize available space, the university should implement co-ed floors, said Morill, an education major.

The Residence Life staff creates co-ed floors when necessary to ensure all students have a room.

 “The decision is made strictly based on the numbers (students needing housing) and the space available,” said Chris Brown, St. Bonaventure’s coordinator for residential education and housing.

Matthew Mulville, Canisius College’s director of Residence Life, a university Bonaventure competes with for enrollment, implemented co-ed housing in 1996, creating more flexibility when housing freshmen.

Yearly housing damage fines have decreased, he said.

“Prior to 1996 we averaged about $25,000 in damage fines per year,” Mulville said. “Now it’s more like $3,000.”

Nichole Gonzalez, St. Bonaventure’s director of Residence Life, said the first floor of Falconio, the university’s only co-ed floor, has fewer housing issues than the other single-sex floors.

“I don’t want to say there’s less documentation because it’s co-ed,” she said.

Mulville said women’s behavior influences men’s.

He said the women on co-ed floors do not tolerate immature behavior. Mulville added the men, not wanting to look foolish, do not cause housing damage, decreasing yearly fines.

Andy Malpiedi, ’10, agreed.

“All-guy floors can just be obnoxious,” he said. “If there were girls living on the floors, I think they’d keep it cleaner.”

Sophomore Jessenia Andujar said all-women floors have too much drama.

“I think guys would mellow things out,” the physical education major said.

Freshman Carrie Wozniak agreed.

“I think I would’ve made more friends faster because girls tend to be standoffish when it comes to meeting other girls,” the undeclared major said.

Canisius sophomore Abby Formella said she loved living on a co-ed floor her freshman year.

“This year I am on the only all-girls floor, and I don’t like it as much,” she said. “It’s a lot quieter and cleaner, but it’s not as fun without the boys.

“The guys on our floor watched out for us girls, and sometimes the girls would bake cookies for the guys,” said Formella, a marketing major. “We became like a family.”

Formella said she never felt uncomfortable living with guys.

Stubbs agreed.

“It was so much fun,” she said. “I was never worried about anything.”

If St. Bonaventure implemented more co-ed housing, Brown said bathrooms would never be co-ed.

“We also will only consider making a floor co-ed when we can separate the areas and create distinct male and female wings, like in Rob/Fal,” he said.

Brown said Robinson and Falconio halls have doors separating each of the buildings’ three wings. Each wing has its own bathroom.

Gonzalez said students would have the choice to live on a co-ed floor.

“I would hate to see all floors go co-ed,” she said. “I would want to preserve (single-sex floors) for first-year students and upperclassmen.

When Canisius implemented co-ed floors, Mulville said it received grief from some conservative Jesuits only — but none from students or parents.

Gonzalez said the idea of co-ed housing has not been explored at St. Bonaventure.

St. Bonaventure sophomore Mike Terry prefers it that way, too.

“Because we are a Catholic school we are just more conservative,” the political science major said. “No one has felt strongly enough to push for some sort of change.”

Even though it’s not in the immediate university plans, Gonzalez said co-ed housing may happen at St. Bonaventure.

“I don’t want to say it will never be explored in the future,” she said. “It’s not something that’s just mine or Chris Brown’s decision. It would need to go through a lot of different channels.”