Roommate Trouble

Ever since college students started living in dormitories, they’re had trouble with their roommates. Why does he still listen to Dave Matthews? Doesn’t he ever change his sheets? What’s with that creepy boyfriend she’s got back home?

In general these things tend to work themselves out over time. But now, according to an article by Abigail Sullivan Moore in the New York Times, colleges students seem to have become oddly immature about handling roommate issues:

Housing officials say that lately they are noticing something different: students seem to lack the will, and skill, to address these ordinary conflicts. “We have students who are mad at each other and they text each other in the same room,” says Tom Kane, director of housing at Appalachian State University, in Boone, N.C. “So many of our roommate conflicts are because kids don’t know how to negotiate a problem.”

Ah the text message, source of—and explanation for—so many overblown education problems.

Of course, the opinion of one housing director at App State does not a trend make. And it’s hard to know if weird roommate problems have really increased with technology enhancements. With smaller families, many college freshmen have never shared a room before college. Maybe that makes it harder for them to have normal discussions about cleaning up and when to play music. Still, it seems to me like, text message or not, students are still confronting the issue.

It could be worse. In 1842 future Union Civil War General George McClellan’s roommate at West Point was A. P. Hill. Hill became a Confederate general.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer