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The Blue & Gray Press | August 19, 2019

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Men unjustly denied the privilege of living in superior dormitories

mary-ballcolorBy GRANT NEROVE

A great injustice exists here at the University of Mary Washington. A form of intolerance and discrimination exists within the residence halls. An act of oppression weighs upon our student body this day. For the most beautiful residence hall on campus, Ball Hall, is denied to men everywhere merely because they are not women.

This hall is adorned with saintly statues, light-breathing domes, the imposing grandeur of marble columns, a radiant white grand piano, beautiful libraries with brick-laden fireplaces and all the architectural ecstasies that thrill the spirit whilst awing the intellect. However, these luxuries are made exclusively available to women. It is provided for the satisfaction of a single gender.

I turn my thoughts to the well-known case of Plessey v. Fergusson, the verdict of which established the legal principle supporting the “separate but equal” treatment of the races before the law. I am reminded of the consequences of Plessey, wherein the races were indeed kept separate and apart, but, by the enormity of evil resident within the soul of man, would not allow themselves to live as equals with those whom their pride had labeled as “less-than.”

Before people get the wrong impression of me as unduly inflamed by wrathfully false assumptions, allow me to clarify that I neither bear any ill will toward women nor do I challenge the traditional role of all-girl residence halls at UMW. According to an evaluation conducted by U.S. News World Report, there is an estimated 64.3 percent females enrolled at UMW compared to 35.7 percent males. It is therefore rational that some halls should be all girl. I only argue that, if males are to be confined to certain halls, and barred from living in others, that the highest quality halls should not be restricted to women.

Thus, Ball Hall should be made co-ed, and, in its place, another hall should be made an all-girl hall. Men as well as women should be granted the opportunity to experience the highest of living standards.

So I ask you, everyone, do you think men, as well as women, have the poetic sensibilities required to appropriately appreciate what is beautiful? If we, too, by dignity of the same birth, deserve to live in the most pleasing living environments, as women do in Ball Hall? I say we do. Let us not forget that tradition has been broken here once before, as all residence halls used to be all-girl. Therefore, let us break tradition once more, and make a new tradition out of it.


  1. Alison King

    I can understand where you’re coming from, but I think your ire is misplaced. First of all, I would say that the nicest and newest dorms are actually Eagle Landing, Mason and Randolph which are all co-ed. Second of all, your descriptions of Ball are a little hyperbolic, plus the actual bedrooms that people live in are no nicer than those in most of the older dorms (Bushnell, Jefferson, Westmo, Virginia etc). Thirdly, all residents of the Tri-unit + Westmo complex have access to these facilities and are free to use them as they wish, regardless of their sex. So, if you lived in Westmo, whose bedrooms are actually larger on average than those in Ball, then you could bathe in the “luxury” that is Ball as much as you wanted.

    The reason there are those niceties is that they are provided by an alumni group who provides it only on the condition that the building is kept all female. I believe the alumni group’s reasoning is that they want to keep the historic and nostalgia value of the school, by both maintaining these historic spaces and the women only policy. I know many women in these dorms prefer women only housing for cultural or religious reasons.

  2. Alison King

    Short version of the argument- each dorm has its ups and downs. Women could complain that Virginia and Ball aren’t equipped with state of the art AV equipment, a 24 hour help desk, a mailroom, games tables, conference room, indoor bike storage and other amenities that are in ELEV and Mason/ Randolph, but they don’t. I suspect because, women know what it’s really like to be discriminated against by society, and let me tell you, a lack of pretty statues ain’t it. (Try wage discrimination on for a start, then we’ll talk)

  3. Jessi Bell

    Clearly this dude has never lived in Ball Hall.

    Or been a lady.

  4. Sean

    It’s been shown that the majority of the wage discrimination issue is because men tend to be in different jobs, which tend to pay higher.

    Now the fact that men are more likely to get those positions, that’s less acceptable.

  5. B.

    So are you just repeating the fact that the job market is inherently sexist or-?

  6. Alison King

    Exactly. We need to examine why typically male fields are more highly paid than typically female fields.

    Fun fact (from a soc. class I took): Being a doctor used to be much more highly paid than it is now. The rate of average pay decrease directly correlates with the increase of women in the profession overall. So, as more women became doctors, we started paying doctors less.

    Another Fun Fact: There is a glass elevator that speeds mens promotions in ‘feminine’ fields just as there is a glass ceiling that prevents women’s promotions in ‘masculine’ fields. For example, male elementary school teachers are more likely to be promoted to an administrative or supervisor job than female teachers, as if society is saying “Why are you lowering yourself to women’s work?”

    We also need to examine why boys and girls are still socialized to desire jobs more in their gender role, (again, which fall in to that pay difference).

  7. Cynthia Battles

    I’m waiting for the #satire tag to pop up, because seriously-are you joking with this article? I’m very disappointed with the Bullet for publishing this, I think an ideal next article would be a breakdown of the meaning of privilege and a checklist of men’s privilege.

  8. Lauren McGrath

    It’s almost like the Bullet is parodying itself at this point.

  9. Andrew Nelson


    You gotta be kidding me, man. You are way off on this. Take a step back. I know it’s hard to recognize sexism when you benefit from it, but try and realize that you are wrong.

    Stop it.

  10. ms. andry

    Male oppression. LOL

  11. JB Bridgeman

    You could build yourself some pretty statues out of how monumentally ignorant this article is.

  12. L.

    Benefit from sexism? Wow that’s a new one. It’s maintained for historical value. Since you know, the school used to be all female. I can’t believe that this was published.

  13. Coolit

    Honestly no resident halls should be single-sex, if you a room with a door you have enough privacy; the real world isn’t full of apartment buildings dedicated to just female living. And if you are going to continue single-sex dorms then why is there not an all-male dorm? That’s what I’ve always wondered. Here at Mary Wash we are full of feminists (including myself) so why as an institution are we assuming that only females want a place to live without the other sex? I’m sure a lot of guys would like a dorm to walk around freely without shirts on and farting whenever and wherever they want just like the girls in Virginia and Ball do.

    And blah blah all of you talking about male-privelage here some dude wanted to write an article about wanting to live in Ball, it’s clearly a joke – and you not taking it as such is which is why feminists get a bad rap

  14. Lauren McGrath

    New marketing campaign for this slowly tanking institution- “UMW- Full of Feminists.”

  15. LP

    Coolit, don’t forget there are women from other countries living in Ball who would face some pretty severe repercussions for living with (and it would be considered with) men. But, you know, keep assuming you’re a feminist instead of finding out more about women’s rights around the world. Girl power, am I right!!?

    As for this article – great job Bullet! It’s nice to see men realizing their severe and unrelenting systematic oppression while women live in luxury in a dorm. In the real world, there is no single-sex buildings! But there is a whole lot of privilege for men, so make sure you publish their complaining now.

  16. What?

    This is full of really bad writing. I can’t tell if it’s satire or real. There’s no logic either…

    “an estimated 64.3 percent females enrolled at UMW compared to 35.7 percent males. It is therefore rational that some halls should be all girl.”

    What? Why is it rational? You have a fact and a conclusion, but skip whatever links the two. Do you mean probability wise?

  17. confused.

    So you’re saying that because Ball Hall is beautiful, it shouldn’t be all female? Even though it’s so beautiful BECAUSE it remains all female by the wishes of the alum group who funds the upkeep of the building. If the building became co-ed, you could say farewell to the funding and how well maintained that building is, and just like everything else on this campus, it’ll lose even more of its history.

  18. Caroline

    Is this guy really trying to compare men not getting to live in Ball to racial segregation? Is he REALLY trying to call this oppression?

    This is just embarrassing.

  19. stuartbollingsmith

    Everyone should watch this Bill Maher video

  20. uh

    It’s really only pretty in the rotunda area. The rest of it pretty much looks like any other dorm hall. Also, if this is supposed to be obvious satire, you’re pretty bad at satire.

  21. Alison King

    Clearly it’s not a joke because the last time this happened, they saw fit to retroactively add a #satire to cover their butts.

    And why are we assuming that women want to live in all-female dorms? Because women sign up to live in female dorms and give positive feedback on it. Why are we assuming that men don’t want to live in all-male dorms? Because they tried having an all-male dorm years ago, but it fell out of popularity and no one wanted to live there anymore so they cancelled it. There hasn’t been any request for one since and other attempts for an all-male community (remember brother eagles? didn’t think so) have fallen flat. It’s just not as popular.

    PS Lauren McGrath- love it, that’s certainly better than the marketing efforts we’ve seen. (Though, I disagree that the school’s tanking, but that’s another argument for another day)

  22. Paige

    Hey Grant, do your research next time you write an article. You just made yourself, and the already struggling Bullet, look like idiots for not recognizing that there’s legitimate reasons as the why Ball Hall is all female. You should have done your research and included it in your article. I understand that you want to make an interesting argument but this is poorly executed.

  23. Coolit

    LP, that is a good point about the international students that I didn’t consider.

  24. atorres

    What is the missing link for you “What”. How is it unclear that the school has a history that started with educating women and that it still has a mojority of women and that there are halls that retain a gender restriction. Did you really need to be spoon fed those connections.

  25. Sepehr

    That “glass ceiling” you are talking about is called pregnancy. Women have a large chunk of their professional lives on leave to give birth. Men do not. Employers also take this probability that women get maternity leave and deduct salary because of it. So…fun fact. Correlation does not always equal causation.

  26. TheSwanKnight

    These repercussions would not be applicable considering the argument presented in the article. He makes clear that he is not arguing against all-girl dormitories; only against some, and the replacement of these with others…So, invalid point?

  27. Philip Green

    What you said didn’t address the glass elevator at all, and failed to provide a complete counter argument against the glass ceiling. Women are discriminated in the world of work all the time, and asserting that it’s because they can get pregnant and leaving at that leaves a lot of questions unanswered.
    Women are stereo typically considered less competent than, and this bias manifests in the hiring and promotion process all the time.
    Look! It turns out that concealing an applicant’s gender tends to help women get jobs:

    Did you catch that in the second article, people with otherwise IDENTICAL qualifications are regarded as less/more competent because of the their gender? We’re talking ability to perform a task, not hold a career. People weren’t going “Oh, hey, she’s got the credentials but she might get pregnant and have to drop out, but otherwise she’d make a great hire.” The respondents were saying something akin to “He graduated from Yale! He’s probably a genius! She graduated from Yale? What else does she have going on for her?”

  28. LP

    JFC, just because some people are physically able to give birth does not mean their salaries should be lower and they should have less of a chance of advancing in their careers. Is that not common sense?

  29. Sepehr

    Please watch this. It will put all of your concerns to rest.