I go fishing for irony and find that Northern State University believes same-sex cohabitation may strengthen the institution of marriage:
“A lot of students want singles, they don’t want a double room,” [NSU Residence Life director Marty] Sabolo said. “And that worries me more than anything, is the growing concern for single rooms for students. … At some point in time in life, you need to learn to share space because, hopefully … most people, at some point in time, want to learn to share space because they want to have a spouse.
“College is one of the best ways to learn how to have a roommate, and all of a sudden you have to learn how to compromise with bedtimes and study times and sharing your space” [Katherine Grandstrand, “Students’ Dorm Desires Lead to Higher Costs,” Aberdeen American News, 2015.08.31].
Hopefully… want to have a spouse—I’m intrigued that a public institution stakes out a normative position on marriage as a preferable state for most people and that Res Life sees preparing young people for that someday blessed union as part of its mission. I’m not sure I can trace any of my husband skills back to SDSU’s shacking me up with men I’d never met before.
Rather than arguing the future spousal merits of old-fashioned double rooms, NSU Res Life might want to stick with the financial argument: We know you young millennials all want your own space, but single rooms are expensive and inefficient, and you students are headed for enough student debt as it is*. We’re keeping costs down: you live on campus, you get a double room.
Of course, Res Life would have more single rooms available if the Board of Regents didn’t feel compelled to maintain its policy of requiring freshmen and sophomores to live and buy overpriced meals on campus.
*According to WalletHub, South Dakota has the second-highest percentage of students with debt and the fourth-highest percentage of student borrowers age 50 and over, but we have the second-lowest percentage of students past due or in default on their student loans and the tenth-lowest average student debt as a percentage of average income adjusted for cost of living.