In an editorial to the Wall Street Journal yesterday, Catholic University President John Garvey announced that his school will be going back to single sex dormitories because of the binge drinking and hooking up that the coed environment encourages. He also decried young women for failing to be "a civilizing influence" on young Catholic men.
After first making the case that intellect and virtue are connected, (and even quoting Aristotle), Garvey discussed the hazards of binge drinking. He then expanded on the hazards of "hooking up."
Hooking up is getting to be as common as drinking. Sociologist W. Bradford Wilcox, who heads the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, says that in various studies, 40%-64% of college students report doing it.
The effects are not all fun. Rates of depression reach 20% for young women who have had two or more sexual partners in the last year, almost double the rate for women who have had none. Sexually active young men do more poorly than abstainers in their academic work.
Garvey states that the solution to this problem is single sex dormitories. He points to research by Christopher Kaczor at Loyola Marymount who says that hooking up and binge drinking are greatly reduced by separating the sexes. And then he discusses why he is puzzled that women can't hold men back from their destructive impulses.
The point about sex is no surprise. The point about drinking is. I would have thought that young women would have a civilizing influence on young men. Yet the causal arrow seems to run the other way. Young women are trying to keep up—and young men are encouraging them (maybe because it facilitates hooking up).
Although the move is garnering praise on some Catholic blogs, Heidi Schlumpf a writer at the Catholic National Reporter thinks the entire thing is one "brilliant PR move" for "nervous parents" as Catholic University dorms were single sex by floor anyway.
What do you think? Do you think single-sex dorms encourage bad behavior? Should women be thought of as "civilizing influences" on young men? Weigh in below!