(ECNS) -- Southern Medical University (SMU) has begun phasing out its mixed-gender dorm policy despite opposition from more than 80 percent of surveyed students, local newspaper Yangcheng Evening News reports.
The university in Guangzhou was the only in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong to adopt the policy allowing male and female students to live in the same dorm and on the same floors.
In most Chinese universities, male and female students live in separate buildings, or on separate floors of the same building, and visits to areas occupied by the opposite sex are strictly controlled. In a dorm at Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, the second and third floors are for female students, while male students live on the fourth floor and above.
SMU, which was founded in October 1951, highlighted a liberal residence policy in their student recruitment drive, portraying it as a symbol of freedom, openness and equality.
In regards to the policy change, the university said "male and female students have different lifestyles. To prevent noise made by male students playing games late into the night from disturbing female students, and also to make it easier for skimpily-clad female students to dare to open their doors for fresh air during summer, the decision to abolish the mixed gender dorm policy has been made."
SMU did not terminate the policy immediately, but the percentage of students living in mixed-gender dorms had dropped from what it was previously, according to the report.
A student's mother supported the university's decision, saying students were still relatively young and that they may not be able to handle the potential consequences.
However, in on online survey organized by students, 82 percent of 6,693 participants called for the mixed-gender dorms to remain.
Wang, a student at the university's nursing school, said many high school students were surprised and curious about having a mixed-gender dorm, but "it's really nothing special after you get used to it."
Wang said students are helpful to one other, and that the arrangement was not nearly as evil as some people imagined.
Ding Yu, an associate professor at Sun Yat-Sen University, said it was totally normal for male and female students to live in the same dorm. Ding also said the influences of history and culture were still powerful, preventing many people from accepting the idea.
Ding suggested that improved management of dorms was needed to better protect the privacy of students.