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DSU co-ed floor not concerning amongst students

With Woods Hall, a previously all-female dorm on the Dickinson State University campus, under construction, Selke Hall, a previously all-male dorm, became a co-ed dorm on campus for the first time this semester.

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Melanie Tucker

With Woods Hall, a previously all-female dorm on the Dickinson State University campus, under construction, Selke Hall, a previously all-male dorm, became a co-ed dorm on campus for the first time this semester.

"It wasn't feasible for us to maintain an all-male dorm hall and tell female students that they didn't have the same option," said Melanie Tucker, DSU vice president of student affairs and enrollment.

Woods Hall is going through a $4 million update and is slated to be completed in the fall of 2017.

Tucker said that students were given the option to move once they were assigned to the first floor of Selke Hall which has students of opposite genders reside there.

The first floor of the resident dorm is co-ed, with the second and third floor being gender specific.

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On the first floor, Tucker said that there are vacant rooms between each room so that no female or male is sleeping in a room directly beside the opposite sex. Opposite genders do not reside in the same room, either.

A flyer was placed on the first floor with specific shower times by gender, which Tucker said the students on that floor decided upon.

"We wanted the students on that floor to have a voice in how to create an environment on that floor where they felt comfortable being a part of," she said.

Early in the semester students on the floor along with the resident advisors chose the times that they felt best worked for shower use.

"They all agreed and said 'yes, these hours work for the women' and 'yes, these hours work for the men,"' Tucker said. "Every student that is living on that floor has the option to go to one of the other floors. So the first floor has men and women, the second floor are all one gender and the third floor is all one gender. If a student on the first floor does not feel comfortable at any time taking a shower there, they can go to the floor there that match their gender and shower there."

DSU President Thomas Mitzel said that while this is new to DSU, campuses across the nation have co-ed style dorms and that the safety and concerns of the students are of the utmost importance.

"We continue to meet with the students to make sure that they do feel comfortable," he said. "One of the things of which we are very proud is that DSU is voted the safest campus in North Dakota. That says we are doing something very well."

Tucker said when it was decided that Selke would have a co-ed floor, concerns arose amongst the community, faculty and staff which led to the design of the housing committee on campus.

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"This fall we created a housing committee and that housing committee is meeting on a weekly basis," she said. "Part of the reason we decided to do that is because some people have been vocal about the concerns of Selke no longer being a single gender dorm."

Tucker said that staff has been monitoring how students have felt since the transition and recently completed a housing assessment survey which was given to dorm residents and 89 percent of students said that they felt safe in the dorms in which they reside.

She said that if a student at anytime feels unsafe or that someone is not following the expected shower times, that the students can report the issue.

"If at any time a student felt like things weren't being followed or a concern there in anyway, that would be considered misconduct and we have our student code of conduct," Tucker said. "So a student could file a complaint to the code of conduct or to security which could result in it being investigated."

She said that, to her knowledge, there has not been a single concern voiced by a student in that building.

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Tom Mitzel

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