Senior Privilege Open to All: Girls and Boys Now Permitted in Each Other’s Rooms

Source: ISU Student Media

April 1, 2023 — Just two weeks after the start of a provocative new senior privilege allowing senior boys and girls to visit each other’s dorm rooms for two hours each week, the school has announced that from now on, the privilege will be available to all students at all times.  “Girls and boys will be allowed on each other’s dorm halls at all times until curfew,” said John Spear, Assistant Head of School, in a statement to the Northwood Community on April 1.

Senior boys and girls were allowed to visit each other’s rooms for the first time on Sunday, March 19. The co-ed visitation was part of the class of 2023’s senior privileges, which were announced a few weeks ago and included giving seniors more choice over how to spend their school night study halls and exemption from 9:30 weekend check-in. The new visitation privilege was meant to be available to seniors on Sundays during quiet hours for the remainder of the school year.

“The two-week senior privilege ‘experiment’ went so well we have decided to allow boys and girls unfettered access to each other’s halls,” added Spear.

Traditionally, Northwood has been very strict regarding co-ed dorm room visitations. The school even installed security cameras recently to prevent such activity. The school’s about-face on this policy has surprised students.

Most students are thrilled. “This is a great change for Northwood. I think this change allows boys and girls to improve socializing, which is necessary in the real world,” Ezekiel Ling ’24 said. Ling and other students also noted that mixed-room visitations are typically permitted in college, and Northwood always says it’s preparing students for college, for the policy change makes sense.

Not all students are happy about the change. Samantha Luger ’24 values the serenity she finds in her dorm and thinks free co-ed visitation will be disruptive. “I can’t believe they are doing this! I want peace and quiet when I’m in my dorm. I don’t want to hear boys and girls flirting or partying nearby,” Luger said.

The trend of more liberal dorm policies is not new nor limited to Northwood. In the 1950s, dorms on college campuses were off-limits to members of the opposite sex. Then came the 1970s, when male and female students crossed paths in co-ed dormitories. To the astonishment of some baby-boomer parents, a growing number of colleges are going even further: co-ed rooms. At least two dozen colleges, including Brown University, the University of Pennsylvania, Oberlin College, Clark University, and the California Institute of Technology, allow some or all students to share a room with anyone they choose – including someone of the opposite sex.

It’s unclear if Northwood is headed in that direction, but for now, girls and boys will be in each other’s rooms at all hours of the day. “I know the frontal lobe of the adolescent brain, the part that controls decision-making and judgment, isn’t fully developed while the student is in high school,” Mr. Spear said, “but I trust them always to make good choices. What could go wrong?”


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