This fall, Stockwell Hall will return as coed dorm

BY ANDY KROLL
Daily News Editor
Published November 3, 2008

Correction appended: The article misstated that the number of female students who didn't request all-female housing but were placed in an all-female residence hall. An estimated 400 female students who did not request all-female housing were placed in women's residences. Additionally, there are 315 rooms in Stockwell Hall, not 410.

A female-only dormitory since its opening in 1940, Stockwell Hall will house both male and female students when it reopens next fall, signifying the decreasing popularity of single-sex housing on campus.

Stockwell, currently under renovation, will become a coed dorm because of a decrease in housing requests for spaces in all-female residence halls, according to University Housing spokesman Peter Logan.

Logan said the University has nearly 800 spaces for all-female housing, but over the past five years University Housing has had only about 240 requests from incoming freshman to live in all-female housing. As a result, the Housing office has had to place about 400 female students who didn't request all-female housing in those residence halls.

“We’ve had an over-supply of all-female housing, and with Stockwell becoming a renovated facility in a neighborhood that is very lose to central campus, we thought students’s interest in having more choice for single rooms would be worthwhile,” he said. “At the same time, it creates a better balance among the all-female housing we offer and the increasing demand for coeducational housing.”

Logan said the demand for coed housing has increased while all-female demand has remained flat.

When Stockwell reopens in the fall, Betsy Barbour and Helen Newberry Houses, the Martha Cook Building and Henderson House will be the only remaining all-female residence halls. Logan said the total number of all-female residence hall spaces will drop to about 390.

Because adding unisex bathrooms was already a part of the Stockwell renovation plans, Logan said the switch from all-female to coed won't affect ongoing construction there.

The number of single rooms in Stockwell, which comprise about 70 percent of the 315 rooms, will stay the same when dorm reopens in the fall, Logan added.

The idea of making Stockwell coed was first openly discussed in the winter of last year during informal conversations University Housing officials held with members of the Residence Hall Association. Since then, University Housing has on several occasions tried to assess the level of support for making Stockwell coed among the dorm’s current residents through open houses and meetings, but Logan said he received little response.

The majority of those who did respond, he added, indicated that they wanted the residence hall to remain all-female.

RHA president Ashley Londy said in a statement that she was excited that a final decision had been made regarding Stockwell’s future as a coed dorm.

“What is especially important to RHA,” she added, “is that the decision was made after student input, and dedication to giving students what they want.”

MSA president Sabrina Shingwani, who lived in Stockwell her freshman year, said she thinks the decision to make the dorm coed will help prevent situations when incoming students get placed in single-sex housing even though they didn’t request it.

“This is something that will positively affect incoming students,” she said. “I think it’s a great move that they’re making.”

Clarification: Although a majority of students living Stockwell Hall in the winter said in a University Housing survey they wanted the dorm to remain all-female, a majority of students surveyed in other dorms indicated they wanted the dorm to become coed.