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By JACK JENKINS
c. 2011 Religion News Service

WASHINGTON (RNS) The Catholic University of America will phase out co-ed dormitories later this year, President John H. Garvey said Monday (June 13), in a bid to crack down on drinking and casual sex.

Garvey, writing in The Wall Street Journal, said the Washington school would instead assign incoming freshmen to same-sex residence halls, and do the same with sophomore halls the following year.

While the university already offers single-sex residence halls and separates dormitory floors by gender, Garvey said the decision was driven by a need to cultivate “the practice of virtue” and prevent “binge drinking and the culture of hooking up.”

Both issues, Garvey claimed, are “the two most serious ethical challenges college students face.”

Garvey cited several statistics that he claimed as evidence that male and female students who share the same living space are more likely to engage in binge drinking and casual sex.

“I would have thought that young women would have a civilizing effect on young men” he said. “Yet the causal arrow seems to run the other way. Young women are trying to keep up — and young men are encouraging them (maybe because it facilitates hooking up).”

Garvey called the new policy a “countercultural” move for the university, which was founded and sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and acknowledged that “the change will probably cost more money.”

“But,” he insisted, “our students will be better off” after the policy is implemented.

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