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Monday, July 20, 2009; 12:00 AM

DEAR AMY: My 18-year-old son "Bob" is leaving for his freshman year of college in August. Bob just received his roommate assignment, and after "friending" him on Facebook, Bob discovered that his roomie is gay.

Bob has four older siblings who have made it successfully through college and dorm life. They've had roommates who were of different races, different cultures and different religions, and have gotten along fine. Bob would prefer a straight roommate.

When I called the university to ask if Bob could be assigned another roomie, the housing director intimated that I was persecuting the gay roommate and that if my son didn't start out rooming with the gay student, then Bob could go to another school. He can put in for a room change during the first two weeks of school if he wants to switch.

I was taken aback. The university (a Jesuit school) has no policy for gay/straight roommates, other than that they don't permit discrimination. Bob will room with the assigned roommate.

In doing an informal poll of my older children and their friends, I discovered that all but one had a gay roommate and didn't stay roommates for long.

Is it discrimination when a straight man doesn't want to room with a gay man? Do you think schools should have a policy about this? -- Worried Mom

DEAR WORRIED: Evidently you understand and applaud your kids' ability to room with people of every background, race and creed, but you and your family draw the line at sexual orientation.

I agree with your school's policy not to discriminate. You could help your son by assuming that he will have a successful roommate experience, but let him know what his options are if he doesn't.

Sometimes students are held hostage by their roommates' nighttime schedule, alcohol use or indiscriminate dating life. That's why the school permits students to switch roommates after a two-week trial.

"My roommate is gay" in and of itself isn't a valid reason to switch in advance, any more than, "my roommate is Asian" would be.

This should be your son's issue to sort out on his own.

DEAR AMY: Is it possible to be in love with two people at the same time?


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