Entitled to be stupid?

Kathryn Lopez of National Review Online writes about what I hope is only the beginning of a nationwide move towards single-sex residence halls on college campuses, in order to cut down on the binge drinking that leads to the drunken sex that students--usually women--often regret the next morning.  

I attended college in the 1970s, when co-ed dorms were still a new (and somewhat shocking) phenomenon. I remember reading that students who shared these dorms said it was like living with a lot of brothers and sisters. But then I moved into one myself on a Christian college campus. Guys on the first floor, gals on the second and third floor.

It was NOT like living with a bunch of brothers, especially when it came to "hot" guys and girls. Residents of this dorm frequently dated one another, and it wasn't long before couples found hidden nooks and crannies in the building to be alone together. (Visiting hours on each floor were strictly  limited, and room doors had to stay open if someone of the opposite sex was visiting). The fact that we had a curfew meant that you could spend a lot more time with a boyfriend or girlfriend who lived in your own dorm than one who lived elsewhere.  

Now, of course, male and female students not only live on the same floors, but are even allowed, at some schools, to reside in the same room.  Students at my older son's alma mater, the University of Chicago, helpfully offer an online hook-up service--one that is spreading to other colleges.

Students who want to hook up will find a way to do so, no matter the official living arrangements. But colleges are right to want to protect female students, especially freshmen, who are often viewed as prey by male students--young men whose goal is to get enough alcohol into them to remove any objections to sex with a near-stranger. 

I have become deeply weary of those who claim that college students are adults and should be treated as such. The trails of vomit in residence hall bathrooms; the deaths of students who fall out of high-rise dorm windows while attempting to throw up after too much alcohol; the misery of 18-year-old girls who attend a frat house party, drink too much, and awake the next morning in a stranger's bed--these horrors suggest that adulthood has not yet been attained. If students insist on behaving stupidly, they can be stupid off campus, without the complicity of campus officials.
Vigen Guroian has a lot more to say about what he refers to as "dorm brothels" here.    


My point is that if you continue to regard young men and women as being in some sort of limbo between adulthood which by your definition would not behave thus, and childhood, which has little psychological desire or physical capability of behaving thus, you will not have improved behavior. You will have just declared your low expectations.
Yay - login reset worked. (Sorry, small things excite me).

Anyway, I have to agree with Jason.

Through most of history, sexual maturity allowed one to be given the responsibility of adulthood. What's kind of funny (in a sad way) is that many college kids (Hmmm) have the bodies of adults but the behavior of... well, I was going to say kids, but I think the behavior is less than human, though the argument could be made that their behavior is only possible by humans...

Which is a long, convoluted way of saying - perhaps it's the setting/culture. Be assured, teenagers can live responsibly, 30-somethings can live irresponsibly, and vice versa, respectively :)

Perhaps college students need to be coddled more, the poor dears.
And may I ask, what do you consider college students to be, if not adults?
My point, Carol and Ellen, is that your objections to debauchery are not amended by saying college students are not adults. And the point is not just "legal age" in the US. They are accepted as being capable of the duties of adults in almost all times and places in history. In fact behavior like this is a product of ambiguity about age not of lack of adulthood. It is also part of a patronizing snobbery that refuses to make demands. Furthermore it is inefficient as it contributes to the pernicious habit of arbitrarily eliminating ten-twenty years potential service to the community from people's lives. Most college students and many high-schoolers should be productive workers, not going to school in the first place.

And I assure you, I am over twenty-five. Not that it matters.
Carol, college students 18 years of age and older are legal adults. They are able to be legally married, be sent to fight in war, and work to earn money and pay taxes. Shirking responsibility does not remove legal adulthood.

BTW, my then boyfriend and now husband lived in a co-ed dorm with co-ed floors and bathrooms at Univ. of CA, Santa Cruz. UCSC had a cafe/coffee culture much more than a party hardy culture. His dorm really was like a bunch of brothers and sisters living together. I grew up with two brothers and two sisters, so I know what it means to grow up with brothers and sisters and share one bathroom with them. However, add a lot of alcohol and a few predatory males to a co-ed dorm and it becomes a recipe for disaster.
If "being capable of working, marrying, and fighting" are the your highest qualifications for "adulthood", I have to wonder if you have attained the age of 25, Jason. Two-yr-olds can fight nearly to the death! Three-yr-olds can out-work adults! As for marriage, little girls still love tea sets, baby dolls, and dress-up (even though little boys are unwilling to cooperate)! Indeed, without some modicum of 'conscience' and sense of responsibility, true adulthood is lacking....and I can introduce you to 40, 50, and even 70-yr-old examples!
Being capable of working, marrying, and fighting constitutes adulthood. In most societies nobody would have been expected to make "considered, informed, decisions" alone. The fault lies not in accepting their adulthood, but in the extremism of individualism.

It is rather pernicious to have a twenty year period of ambiguity in everybody's life. It ends up justifying sloth and vice in youths, and creates an air of snobbery in adults. And the behavior described is so gross that it is hard to see how it would be rectified by calling them children.

In most societies adulthood comes between ten and twenty.
Most college students are NOT adults! They have a part of their brain--the part that makes "considered, informed decisions"--that is not fully developed, and won't be until they are about 25 years of age! If the statistics I keep hearing/reading weren't "proof" enough, I have a situation in my own family that proves the point subjectively! Another subjective proof is all the high school and college kids who turned out to vote for B.H. Obama without thinking through what he was saying and promising! These are children still in need of parental oversight. It's one thing to give your child as much responsibility as he/she is capable of handling, and quite another, at an arbitrary birthday, to suddenly let go and in effect say, "Okay, kid: sink or swim"! The latter is parental abuse on the order of beating your child half to death or denying them food and water!
College students ARE adults. For that matter many teenagers are adults. Dissipation does not prove that they are not so; it proves that they are rejecting their responsibilities.

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