Chown Hall switches to co-ed

Last year, the University offered 463 single-gender residence spots, but only 133 students applied

Chown Hall, at 175 Stuart Street, became an all-girls residence in 1960. Adelaide Hall, Ban Righ Hall, and Angus House at Jean Royce Hall, still remain all-girls residences.
Chown Hall, at 175 Stuart Street, became an all-girls residence in 1960. Adelaide Hall, Ban Righ Hall, and Angus House at Jean Royce Hall, still remain all-girls residences.

Come September, Chown Hall will be a co-ed residence for incoming first-years. The switch resulted from declining interest in single-gender accommodations. The residence has been an all-girls since it opened in 1960.

Director of Housing and Hospitality Bruce Griffiths said last year the University offered 463 single-gender residence spots but only 133 students picked the category as a top-five preference. Fourteen female applicants selected all-girls residence as their first choice, Griffiths said.

Changes in female enrolment didn’t impact the decision to make Chown Hall co-ed, he said.

“This was really about numbers of applicants indicating this type of accommodation as one of their preferences,” he said.

The decision was finalized by the Senate Residence Committee on March 14.

Griffiths said Chown Hall was chosen because its bathrooms are the easiest to modify.

The all-male floor in Leonard Hall and the all-girls residences Adelaide Hall, Ban Righ Hall and Angus House at Jean Royce Hall will remain unchanged.

Griffiths said his department will continue to monitor the demand for single-gender residences, but Queen’s won’t get rid of them for good.

“I think it’ll always be a part of our offering, just like other schools,” he said.

Guelph and McMaster also have all-female residences, while universities like Western and McGill do not have entirely single-gender residences but only single-gender floors within a residence.

A student survey organized by Queen’s Housing and Hospitality Services last year indicated that reasons for choosing single-gender residences include a quieter study environment and religious or cultural beliefs.

Ashley Ratcliffe, ArtSci ’12, was a don in Chown Hall last year. She said all-girls residences help students feel more comfortable.

“Co-ed residences have a reputation of being crazy,” she said. “Female residences are known for being a quieter kind of environment.”

Ratcliffe said it’s important to remember why all-female residences were established in the first place.

“In our don training, they told us about how women fought to have these residences established so that female students could have a safe place to study near campus,” she said. “It’s important to recognize these landmark institutions.”

Ratcliffe said many girls who didn’t explicitly choose to be placed in all-girls residence feel ashamed of the placement.

“I think there’s a lot of hype and perception about all-girls [residences] and people choose them because they’re socially awkward. This stigma is largely false,” she said.

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