When Jacey Pulver, a freshman who has not declared a major, was searching for housing at Utah State University, her step-sister recommended Valley View Tower because it was “kind of tucked away” and, to her knowledge, housed only females.
Pulver grew up in Provo and was only familiar with Brigham Young University housing, which is completely gender separated.
“That’s really the only dorm styles I had known,” she said. “I was kind of looking for that and was really excited.”
However, when Pulver saw on USU’s housing application website that she could apply to live in Mountain View Tower, which she knew as the traditionally all-male building, she grew surprised, so she called USU’s housing department and asked for their clarification.
After the housing department told her the traditionally gender-separated dorms would now be co-ed, she “honestly wasn’t very happy,” she said. “I just kind of went with it and prayed for the best.”
Pulver had been living in Mountain View Tower for a week when she spoke with the Utah Statesman, and her experiences were not as positive as she had hoped.
“Two days in we had guys walking up and down the sixth floor, which is all girls, blasting (music)” she said. “That wasn’t very fun.”
Noelle Atkin, a freshman studying human biology, felt similarly.
“If I had a choice, I would definitely choose the same gender,” she said. “Just to be comfortable to walk in my pajamas or walk to the shower.”
Until the 2017-18 academic year, Mountain View Tower traditionally only housed males, and Valley View Tower only females. However, the university changed its policy because they planned to have a new housing complex ready for this academic year, and with the new complex, they planned to tear down Valley View Tower and make Mountain View Tower co-ed, said Steve Jenson, executive director for housing and residence life.
Jenson added that the first four floors of each building are all male, while the last three are female, and he has only heard positive feedback from residents regarding the change.
Many residents spoke positively of the difference.
Tori Garn, a freshman studying nursing, felt the gender-separated housing was outdated.
Garn grew up in New Jersey, and she said “over there they don’t really care whether it’s boys or girls, they just kind of like throw you together,” so the gender-combined is all she knew.
Aubrey Brandon, a freshman who has not declared a major, agreed that the separation was out-dated.
“I could see why they did that in the first place, but I think now in the society we live in I don’t think it matters,” she said. “I think it’s awesome, I think they made a good decision.”
Bron McCall, a senior who has lived in the towers for four years, said he has barely noticed a difference.
“I always thought it was kind of funny seeing a bunch of girls going upstairs, but it’s no big deal, I don’t mind it at all,” he said.
The university has also included more measures to protect student safety, such as electronic locks on the bathroom, Jenson said.
“I think generally it’s been very well accepted by the students,” he said. Jenson added that the housing department will be holding town halls for residents to voice their feedback on the issue, and residents will be notified in the future before these town halls are held.