ENMU considers changing dorm to all-male residence

Tony Parra

The days of women and men living in Lincoln Hall together may be over.
Eastern New Mexico University is considering changing Lincoln Hall from a co-ed dormitory to all male. The move could be made because of the increase of male residents and not enough space to accommodate them according to Housing Director Stephanie McClary.
“There’s not enough space to accommodate the male residents,” McClary said. “We’re going to have a lot of freshman males coming in next year that we have to accommodate for. We presented this option to the residents in Lincoln Hall so we could get some feedback.”
Currently, there are 50 women living in the short wings of Lincoln Hall and 203 women living in the all-female Bernalillo Hall according to McClary. At this time the women live on the second and third floors of the shorter wing, while the men live in the longer wing and the other floors of the shorter wing. Lincoln Hall and Bernalillo Hall are both seven-story facilities with long and short wings, with a capacity of 383.
“There’s plenty of room in Bernalillo,” McClary said. “It’s the same capacity of Lincoln Hall.”
There was a meeting on Tuesday night in Lincoln to discuss the reasons to keep it as a coed dorm. Approximately 30 of the hall’s residents showed up to the meeting, according to McClary.
“I think it’s fine the way it is,” Keith Balderaz, ENMU student and Lincoln Hall resident, said. “I really don’t see any bad things in having (the hall) co-ed. Nothing really bad happens in Lincoln. Having women around makes the guys act more like gentlemen. There’s less vandalism because of it.”
Lincoln Hall was an all-male dorm until 1998. In 1998 ENMU made Lincoln Hall into a co-ed dorm and at the time women were allowed to live on the second and third west wings of the dorm. Students dismissed the safety concerns.
“There’s always going to be the question of what if?” said Lincoln resident Jennifer Betts. “Men and women live together in apartment complexes and this is no different. The guys have been behaving nicely.”
McClary has been the director for the last two years, so she inherited the concept of Lincoln Hall as a co-ed dormitory. Steve Dixon was the director of housing from 1997 to 2003 and offers possible reasons for the change.
“They made the decision before I arrived, but my educated guess would be that at one point in time there was a bigger percentage of females than males,” Dixon said. “There was additional space in Lincoln Hall that nobody was using. Many universities only offered co-ed and I think ENMU wanted to offer that as well to make it a more attractive place to attend.”
If the decision is made to revert Lincoln Hall into an all-male dormitory, it will have to be approved by ENMU president Steven Gamble. To avoid the complications of displacing residents between semesters, the measure would not take effect until the fall semester of 2004.
“I am against it,” Jason Mora, Lincoln Hall resident, said. “I like being able to take a girl upstairs to hang out. I don’t want to have to come all the way down to escort her up like in Bernalillo (Hall).”
ENMU has Lincoln, Bernalillo, Eddy, and Curry Halls on the east side of the campus. Eddy, Curry and Chavez Apartment are also co-ed.