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Crumley’s coed change hopes to better UNT’s housing situation

Crumley’s coed change hopes to better UNT’s housing situation

Crumley’s coed change hopes to better UNT’s housing situation
March 05
01:18 2014

Ali West // Staff Writer

Crumley Hall, currently the lone female-only residence hall, will become coed for the fall 2014 semester after a decrease in demand for gender-specific housing and an increase in demand for space in the growing engineering community.

Prior to 1999, Maple Hall was UNT’s only female residence hall. The fall in demand for an all-female dorm prompted the switch to Crumley, which was previously a coed mix of upperclassmen and freshmen. Residence Life coordinator James Fairchild said the further demand decrease prompted the switch back to coed.

“The request, or even the demand, for students to have an all-female residence hall, specifically from female students or their parents, has gone down,” Fairchild said. “We have a small handful of those requests and Crumley’s been able to meet that need, but it has just dwindled.”

The lower demand for a female-only dorm combined with making the building coed will give UNT Housing flexibility when placing incoming students and lessen the likelihood of turning anyone away, as Fairchild said they had to do last fall.

“We had to put some male students in temporary housing at a close-by hotel,” Fairchild said. “They were there for a portion of the fall semester because we ran out of beds for guys.”

The decision was collaborative on the part of the director of housing Elisabeth Warren, Fairchild, and the Associate Vice President for Auxiliary Services Tom Roofer.

In another twist in Crumley’s future, engineering REAL community is expected to reside on the second and third floors of Crumley Hall. Currently the engineering REAL community in Kerr Hall has about 95 students. With the addition of a biomedical sciences program, this number is expected to grow to around 150, Fairchild said.

“It’s going to be at least 75 percent engineering students living in this building,” Fairchild said. “It’s going to add a whole new dynamic on top of the fact that it’s coed.”

For those incoming students who request all-female housing, Fairchild said there are options. The south tower of West Hall is all female, and there are a number of all-male or all-female floors within residence halls spread around campus to accommodate this.

Concerns for safety and the potential distraction of the opposite sex are reasons students choose female-only housing, Fairchild said. The expectations of the student’s family are also a factor. However, Fairchild said in his experience the student and parents have been on the same page about opting for female-only housing.

International student and business freshman Caitlyn Wen, from the Hainan province of China, said some Asian students may not like the idea of coed housing because of culture and tradition.

“I just feel strange,” Wen said. “It makes me uncomfortable to open the door and see boys.”

UNT is far from the only university to offer gender-specific housing. For example, Fairchild said Texas Tech, which he visited recently, is just now making the switch to mixed gender floors in buildings.

On the other end of the spectrum, some schools offer mixed-gender options within the same room or suite for upper-classmen.

“We’re talking about the possibility of doing that down the road but we’re not quite there yet,” Fairchild said.

Crumley’s small, five-person staff of RA’s is currently all females. Fairchild said Crumley would most likely pull in some male RA’s to represent the new diversity of the hall.

Crumley Hall Director Aundrea Caraway said that despite the changes, Crumley Hall is still a close-knit community.

“I don’t expect that to change so much because it’s just a smaller group of people to interact with,” Caraway said.

Since Crumley is primarily a freshman building, incoming freshmen are going to be most affected by this change, Fairchild said. But because they are not here yet, they will not necessarily know Crumley’s gender-specific past.

Chemistry freshman Christina Macias said she chose Crumley because it was an all-female residence hall. Macias said she likes Crumley’s current, quiet atmosphere.

“Crumley has this ‘home’ feeling to it,” Macias said. “I feel like that’ll change.”

But Fairchild said he has not met any opposition to the plan.

“There hasn’t been any outcry or complaints or anything like that related to it,” Fairchild said. “It’s gone fairly smooth.”

Feature photo: The only all female residence hall on campus, Crumley Hall will soon become a co-ed dorm next semester. Photo by Kelsey Littlefield / Staff Photographer 

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