TORONTO (NUW) – The year she graduated from high school, Emma Sexton was accepted into the engineering program at the University of Toronto with the usual residence guarantee.She grew up in a small town in the Niagara region and knew little about what to expect in terms of residence or Toronto life.
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Finally, six days before the payment deadline, she was offered space at Loretto College, a private, all-female residence affiliated with St. Sexton says she was disappointed about being put in Loretto, but took the spot because she was not offered an alternative.
After moving into Loretto, Sexton quickly learned it was not like other U of T residences.
In the Loretto residence agreement, the philosophy statement reads: “Life at Loretto College focuses on participation and involvement in a supportive Christian academic community.” The agreement goes on to state that the College has the right to make policies that “implement the philosophy of the College,” but that discrimination will not be tolerated.
Students are required to sign the agreement, agreeing to “adhere” to the college’s philosophy.
However, if I have a single room I see no reason whatsoever why I should not be allowed a male in my room,” she said, adding that she “felt like she was treated like a girl in a boarding school.” Another student, who lived in Loretto for two years and requested anonymity, said these regulations are “ostensibly in accordance with Catholic doctrine to discourage any kind of fornication.
Nobody really knows why, and I’ve never gotten a straight answer.
That is all fine and dandy—unless, of course, you aren’t Catholic.” A number of students reported that, like Sexton, they were offered residence at Loretto without alternate residence.
Elizabeth de Roode, a second-year engineering student, declined Loretto’s offer because she felt uncomfortable with the residence agreement. “I wanted to live in residence, I just didn’t want to live in a residence so different from my idea of what university should be,” she said.
Over the past three months, *The Varsity* spoke with more than 15 current and former Loretto students.