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Monday, Jul. 11, 2011

 $50 Amazon gift certificate to the best student response on this case received by midnight, July 17th.

Brad and Wilson are roommates. Brad is an outgoing, free-spirited, notorious "ladies man." Wilson prefers to spend his time in the dorm, reading and doing homework. At first, they got along well, with their personalities complementing each other.  But then Brad started bringing women to the room unannounced. During the day, he'd make some not very subtle comment about wanting to be alone and expect Wilson to split.  Sometimes he brought a date home for a "sleepover," and he seemed not to care if Wilson stayed in the room.  But that made Wilson feel like a voyeur, so he slept on the couch in the lounge.  Once he even missed class because, without his alarm clock, he overslept.

Wilson doesn't want to upset Brad by asking him not to bring women back to the dorm so late and so often, nor does he want their friendship to become awkward or tense.   But he'd also like the use of his own room.  How should he approach this problem with Brad?

Here are some resources that might be useful:

A Framework for Ethical Decision Making

Sexiling 101

7 Tips for a Better Rommate Experience


Photo by Chrissy Hunt available under Attribution- Non Commercial- No Derivs License.



Comments Comments

Cameron Tow said on Jul 12, 2011
Because most freshman roommates are strangers, they're often not comfortable having a conversation about problems that come up. When one of them starts an annoying habit, if there is no response from the other, the habit is reinforced. By not saying anything for so long, Wilson has been continuously reinforcing Brad's habit of bringing girls back late to the room. Brad figures that since Wilson hasn't complained, he's OK with it. The fortunate flipside of this problem is that if Wilson talks to Brad (preferably as soon as possible), Brad will most likely understand. Since they seem to have a good relationship and are relatively comfortable with each other, Brad should respect Wilson's right to his own space with no hard feelings. A lot of people get into the mindset that they cannot request anything of their roommate without affecting the relationship adversely. In my experience, most roommates are willing, if not eager, to deal with issues. The easiest way to solve this problem is for both roommates to make concessions. Since Brad and Wilson both have equal rights to their space, they need to work out an arrangement that suits both of them. Just as Brad has no right to bring back girls late every night, Wilson has no right to tell him he can never do so. They share the room, so they must work something out that will make both of them happy (or at least not unhappy). - Like
Deepti said on Jul 13, 2011
As I see it, Wilson doesn't need to worry about ruining the friendship. Brad has already introduced awkwardness into the relationship by constantly putting his roommate in an uncomfortable position. Friends care about each other's feelings. Brad's behavior is more along the lines of exploitation than friendship. I'm not saying Brad should never have the room to himself. Even people in shared spaces have a right to privacy sometimes. But Brad's behavior goes beyond all limits. He isn't making any effort to avoid inconveniencing Wilson, who has a right to a certain level of comfort and security within his own room. As a co-resident of the room, with equal claim to it, Wilson should not be regularly inconvenienced by Brad's exploits. He should clearly tell Brad he is unwilling to continue with things the way they are. If Brad doesn't agree, Wilson should talk to the resident director and get a different housing assignment. - Like
Miriam said on Jul 14, 2011
Whether you're saving yourself for marriage or you just like to hook up, I wish we could agree on one thing: Sex is private. To me, this is a simple matter of respect for your partner, your roommate, and yourself. Those unplanned overnights when your roommate wakes up to the sounds of moaning and bedsprings are seriously rude and tacky. Beyond that basic, I think this is an issue of fairness. No fair solution is going to result in Wilson always being the person who has to be accommodating. The best way to resolve the problem is for the two to have a discussion that lays out some ground rules for how often and at what times and with how much advance notice Brad can ask Wilson to vacate the premises. - Like
Aidan Barbarian said on Jul 15, 2011
I think that dealing with this is key issue especially when it comes down to dealing with a college roommate. I agree that at least Brad should tell Wilson that he is being sexcavated. However, as a courtesy to his roommate Wilson, Brad should at least give Wilson the chance to get the necessary items or objects that he may need to go through to the next day. Considering I am an incoming freshman, I believe that this topic between roommates will eventually have to be addressed and both parties will have to make compromises. - Like
Kevin Chew Figueroa said on Jul 15, 2011
Let's admit, it's 2011 and awkwardly making friends and physically talking to people has become extinct. Facebook, Twittter, Myspace, Blogs. Social Networking has become the new form of socializing, free from social and physical confrontation we're shielded by a barrier we call the internet. Personal insecurities significantly weigh us down less, and people freely post what they would be to shy, embarrassed, or simply coy to say in person. SuperBrOnCo1045 might find joy in flaming people in blogs, or he might just bully others on the web, things he would never do in person. And yet, we say Wilson should confront his roommate or that he should complain to his resident director. Sure the average Santa Clara student could be able to do those things. Nonetheless, what of the freshman? The typical Passive-Agressive Student, pulled from his habitat dropped into a new environment, eager to please all and not to interrupt the peace pre established in his new world. How could he challenge the situation? Now they say fighting fire with fire, only gets everyone burned. But they always forget to mention it always gets the job done. Wilson is a passive-agressive student. In order to confront the situation he should place Brad in the same situation. He as well should have friends "sleepover", not to confront Brad but to simply remind and show him how annoying his actions have caused for Wilson. - Like - 1 person likes this.
David DeCosse said on Jul 15, 2011
"All's fair in love..." That old adage has been wise if painful counsel for countless lovers jilted by the unfair loss of unrequited love. But the wisdom of the old adage has a limit, too - and Brad's obnoxious behavior reveals it. The adage assumes that love isn't really fair: That the demands of love trump the requirements of fairness. But if we hew to that logic, then Brad is justified in bringing his lovers to the dorm and Wilson will just have to get over his sense that he's being unfairly denied use of his bed and study space. And that can't be right. So it's important to complement the adage by adding another. All that's love should strive to be fair. What is the quality of a romantic love that departs from basic standards of fairness? Of course, these standards apply between the partners: Can there be love when one or the other is being treated unfairly? These standards also apply to the associates, friends, and family of the partners. What is the quality of a romantic love - like Brad's for his girlfriends - that so easily dispenses with respect for the place of rest and study that is owed to Wilson? I wouldn't say Brad's love amounts to much. - Like
Catherine Ayran said on Jul 16, 2011
This kind of situation is bound to happen for any college student. Brad and Wilson should respect each other's space and have a reasonable agreement on sleepovers. Wilson should kindly tell Brad how he feels about the situation. If Wilson doesn't say anything, he will just be hurting himself and would create a bitterness between his roommate. Having to sleep outside of the room that he pays for is not right at all. Brad should be considerate of his own actions and not make his roommate feel out of place. Wilson could suggest a schedule that he's comfortable with Brad having sleepovers. This would be a great opportunity to both talk about what days/times each person will be in the room. Wilson can also politely say that sleepovers are alright if they sleep in the living room and aren't distracting. This way Wilson has his alarm clock ao we won't be late for class and won't have to be kicked out of his room. Afterall, Brad is the one who is bringing another person into their space that both of them pay for. Brad should be willing to make some kind of compromise if he wants to continue tol live with Wilson and have his fun, within reason. - Like - 3 people like this.
Miriam Schulman said on Jul 18, 2011
Kevin won this week's Big Q comment contest. We liked the way he analyzed the impact of social media on the communication skills of freshmen. His "fight fire with fire" suggestion is not necessarily what we'd recommend--what if Wilson either doesn't have a girlfriend or doesn't want to have sex right now?--but he brings up the issue of fairness in the case. - Like - 1 person likes this.
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