Was Dillard successful in its transition to co-ed dorms?

Dillard University has begun a new transition where three of the residential units are now co-ed. Williams Hall, Nelson Modular Complex and DUAL apartments are the residential units to which this change has taken place. However, due to this change, there have been numerous concerns involving safety and vandalism among these residences.

With these concerns put into thought, inquiring minds want to know if co-ed living is a good idea at Dillard. According to Dr. Freddye Hill, Dean of Campus Life, co-ed living was one of the first major projects initiated by the administration of our former president, Dr. Michael Lomax, in an effort to improve the campus.

As one of the strategic goals in the plan to increase enrollment, its purpose is for the improvement of the campus structure to support and increase in the student body.

“Williams Hall was traditionally a women’s dorm. However, this year there was increase of male students who wanted to live on campus. The decision was made that male students should enjoy all the benefits of residential life, including residing in Williams Hall, which is considered to be one of the best dorms on campus. So the decision was made to convert the first floor of Williams hall into a male residential unit,” Hill said.

Dr. Hill stated how some people were upset because they are accustomed to Williams being a women’s residence hall. In order to meet the needs of all students, there has to be creative, innovative and flexible changes, which caused the decision for males to live in Williams, so they can have equal access to the best residential housing on campus, according to Dr. Hill. As Campus Life moves to a progressive housing model, Williams and Nelson Complex will continue to have co-ed living.

And if there is an increase in male students, as is the goal of the president elect, Dr. Marvalene Hughes, one of the first year women’s halls may have a male unit on the first floor.Dominique Hayes, a sophomore speech communications major, said “I think that Campus Life made the correct decision in deciding integrated dormitories for upperclassmen only. As far as incoming freshmen, they lack maturity and I think that the freshmen dorms should not be integrated.”

Many females, who reside in Williams, have many concerns of vandalism since Williams has become co-ed. Lillian Gabriel, a sophomore music business major, said there have been many hardships Williams has endured since the integration of males and females.

“I think the worst thing is the herbs smelt when walking in the dorm along with the trash in the hallways and the violations of the vending machines,” Gabriel said. Elizabeth Taylor, a sophomore psychology major, said “I feel that it is very unsafe here and something very bad will happen and Dillard will be responsible.” According Dr. Hill, there has been more vandalism around Williams this year.

“The fact of the matter is, that we don’t know if it is students who reside in Williams, or someone’s friends who do not attend Dillard. There may be one or two males who want to harm the residents and damage the machines. Without doubt in my mind only one or two are responsible, and I don’t believe to build procedures around what one or two people do. You have to look at everyone and 99.9 percent of the students at Dillard are respectful towards the property,” Dr. Hill said.

Another concern toward co-ed living is security. Many students do not feel safe due to people who do not attend Dillard walking around in the dorms. Meagan Williams, a sophomore psychology major, said security, as far as keeping trespassers out the dorms, is misdirected.

“With certain barriers such as the duck pond not being fully patrolled, many males who don’t attend Dillard can walk on the campus and harass people in Williams. There have been incidents such as, a female being beaten by another females’ boyfriend who doesn’t attend Dillard and girls waking up to find people looking at them. I feel that security needs to step up their measures as far as keeping trespassers out of Dillard making co-ed living successful,” Williams said.

According to Dr. Hill, there is a problem as far as male trespassers coming on to Dillard’s campus; however it is a problem that can be stopped. “We all know each other here, so if you see a trespasser, call public safety. Once those men see that the women don’t want them here they are not going to come in with as much ease as they currently do,” Hill said.

Dr. Hill also states that some students provoke the trespassers to come in the dorms. “Somebody has to receive them and make them feel welcome for these trespassers to come on campus as freely as they do. For the ones who sell drugs, someone on the campus is buying drugs, so they know they have a market here. So this is a community issue we have to address and these issues need to be reported to campus safety because it is the only way to make Dillard safe,” Hill said.

Dr. Hill expressed that the solution is for students who do not want to be shackled and freely move about, create a climate where students get along with each other and not bring people on campus who could harm the community. Hill also states how African American male and female college students are able to live together. They are able to learn from one another as peers and students who have the same values and concerns.