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House kills dorm bill

By Kristen Roberts
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
February 17, 2000
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PHOENIX-By a vote of 17-34, the Arizona House failed Rep. Jean McGrath's dorm bill Tuesday night.

The amended bill would have required the three state universities to "provide a single-sex living arrangement to any resident who requests such an arrangement."

It also would have required the universities to move a resident to another dorm room, at no additional cost, if the person "makes a reasonable request" and is "unable to resolve a conflict with the resident's roommate."

In a floor debate, Rep. Marion Pickens, D-Tucson, said the letters she received from students say they already have single-sex dorm options.

Pickens said the universities might have had problems meeting the bill's requirements because of tight space in the dorms. She suggested providing funding for the universities to build additional dorms.

Another Tucson Democrat, Rep. Andy Nichols, called the proposal "a bill whose time has past," probably "sometime in the last century."

He said he had received more letters about this bill than about most other bills.

McGrath, a Republican from Glendale, called her bill "a very mild solution" to a problem described by one letter writer as "dorms run more like houses of ill repute."

She said the person who wrote the letter is a former University of Arizona student whose roommate was having sex with her boyfriend in the bunk above her. McGrath said the letter was one of "many" she received in support of the measure.

McGrath said students who ask to be moved are sometimes told no rooms are available. Setting aside a few rooms would not be a "hardship" to the universities, she said.

Also, in "most instances," the universities are not willing to move students at no additional cost, she said.

Rep. Sylvia Laughter, D-Kayenta, spoke in support of the bill, explaining that she heard a caller to a talk show describe boys peeking at showering girls in co-ed dorms and another caller say he would not have sent his daughter to an Arizona university had he known this was happening.

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