Irwin to become a co-ed dorm


Story by Taylor

The boys are back in town, quite literally for Baker University. Enrollment for fall 2014 looks strong, and men will likely outnumber women. And with all of Gessner Hall, the New Living Center and Horn and Markham Apartments at full male capacity, Irwin will be housing men this year.

“I think it will be really different because it’s something we’re not used to,” Senior Resident Assistant Liz Jordan said. “Having males in Irwin will be strange, but it’s only because we have it in our minds that Irwin and Gessner are single sex. We will just have to get used to it.”

This is a comparison of the Greek chapter house occupancy for spring 2014 to the projected numbers for fall 2014. The list was provided by Dean of Students Cassy Bailey.

Men will be living in the basement of Irwin, filling a whole wing and half of another. Jordan foresees changes having to be made in order to accommodate both males and females in the dormitory. The resident assistants will focus more of their attention on creating gender-neutral events, decorations and themes while being sensitive to each sex’s needs.

“Our primary concern isn’t where everyone is and what they are doing, but freshman women and freshman men live very different lives,” Jordan said. “We’ll have to be more strict on dress codes in the hallways and be more sensitive to the rules we seem to let slide sometimes.”

This is the first year since 2009 that Irwin has housed males. Dean of Students Cassy Bailey said that it took the university years to “get out the boy funk.”

2009 was the year Baker brought in the wrestling program, but Bailey says this year doesn’t have such a clear-cut explanation to the influx of men in need of housing. It could be due to more women moving in to Greek chapters this year than previous years; Delta Delta Delta has seen a 33 percent growth and Zeta Tau Alpha boasts a 58 percent growth.

“We knew early in the semester that this year was going to have a different feel,” Bailey said. “We had more people applying for apartments than we had available and we filled the NLC up fast.”

Bailey sent an email to the male students who were placed in Irwin housing to prove that, no, the placement was not an accident. When junior Josh Peck read his assignment, he said his reaction was mostly shock.

“I’ve been in Irwin before and I do like its rooms better than Gessner,” Peck said. Peck has lived in Gessner since he came to Baker. “But I liked living in Gessner because it was right in the middle of everything that happened. I think it’ll make interactions easier for the campus, but it’ll definitely be different.”