Two residences at StFX are becoming co-ed in the 2018-19 school year.
Annie Sirous, the president of the university’s Students’ Union, says there’s been reports of high rates of violence and conduct issues in Cameron and MacKinnon Halls compared to other residences.
She says they’ll eliminate the gender-specific areas in the buildings.
Sirous tells The Hawk it’s a trend of behaviour, and they’re supporting university officials in the change.
“They feel that they can no longer avoid making those changes to the residences.”
Sirous says Students’ Union members realize there were previous efforts to prevent these changes, but an agreement was established to address the behaviours in 2015, and that hasn’t happened yet.
Jacqueline De Leebeeck, the university’s director of student life, says they hope the move will benefit students as well.
“The reality is that’s stuff that impacts the community and the experience of others,” she says. “We know that in a co-ed environment, we hope it’s going to align better with our goal of a welcoming, comfortable, inclusive experience for students.”
De Leebeeck says they’re working on making an all-gender residence experience; they’re one of the last universities in the country to move away from single-gender residences.
She says they’re not sure of the cost of the renovations.
Sirous says it’s an important move.
“I know that it’s a contentious thing among students,” she says. “The Students’ Union is trying to do our best and our due diligence to make sure that we prioritize students’ well-being in this entire process.”
The changes take effect in September.
Photo credit: StFX