Response to ‘No more ‘duh’ studies’

On the contrary, the co-ed dorm study has clear economic implications.

by Clinton Gudmunson

Jay LenoâÄôs single-syllable rejoinder, âÄúDuh!âÄù to a study by University of Minnesota grads Brian Willoughby and Jason Carroll showing heightened binge drinking and sexual activity in co-ed dorms was entertaining, but should not have been repackaged as a rational argument in TuesdayâÄôs editorial. The Minnesota Daily Editorial Board claimed the study was frivolous because the findings were obvious, it had no âÄúeconomic importanceâÄù and University resources for the study were poorly used. These points are all misshapen. The authors knew that students preferring risky sexual behavior prefer co-ed dorms, but instead of simply passing this off as âÄúcommon sense,âÄù they investigated further and uncovered several reasonable arguments against selection effects. For instance, most students simply opt to live in the dorm assigned by their university. Besides, the link to differences in drinking behavior is not nearly as obvious. Downplaying the potential economic impact of heightened sexual activity and binge drinking among students is unwise. Take this thought experiment: Will there be the same levels of academic achievement, real-world preparation and speed to graduation for students binge drinking and having sex three times a week versus students who rarely do these things? Or, will the only difference lie in their levels of âÄúfunâÄù? And after graduation, who is going to better hold down a job? Who would you want to marry? The sobering answer is obvious; our social decisions have a tremendous economic impact. In refuting these points, it becomes clearer that University resources were well-used for this research. The authorship shows that this research drew in talent from outside the University and boosted talent from within while gaining national exposure. One study can never be all things, but this is the kind of research that parents, students and universities could have benefited from before the transition to co-ed housing. Clinton Gudmunson University graduate student Please send comments to [email protected].