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Potentially Assigned to Hotel Room with the Opposite Gender


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So I got my hotel confirmation for my upcoming visit.  It is for a six person cohort program and my room has four people in it.  I am a woman, and statistics is probably about 40% female.  It would be incredibly unlikely that there are four women in my cohort.  This implies that it more likely that this is either a mistake or that I will be sharing a room with three men that I have never met before which I something that would me very uncomfortable.  No program would do that right?  It sounds like a huge liability issue and an overall bad idea.  I want to clarify but I don’t know how to ask about this. Sharing a room with other women would not bother me, but this does. I am a cisgender woman with a feminine name so I don’t think I was misgendered.  Thoughts?

Edited by Bayesian1701
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I think you should definitely ask for clarification. 

If the hotel booking doesn't name the roommates, it could be that the room fits four people so that's what the department asked for in the reservation, but they might not actually fill all the spots. I think four to a room is a bit excessive, unless this is a giant hotel room or something. I know many hotel rooms with 2 beds get counted as "4" for the occupancy even when only two people stay in it. However, definitely better to ask now than to get a surprise when you arrive.

There are different ways you might want to do this, depending on what style you like. Some suggestions:

1. Just ask directly. Say that you want to confirm that your roommates would also be women. 

2. Ask the department if you would be able to get the names and contact info for your roommates ahead of time. This isn't foolproof but it might give you some information if you don't want to bring up the topic directly, for some reason.

3. You could do both 1 and 2.

4. You could ask a student in the program instead of the dept directly if you are given contact of a current student regarding the visit.

5. You could call the hotel and ask about your reservation.

I think this is a reasonable thing to be concerned about and ask, so I don't think there is anything wrong with the direct approach at all. But just giving some suggestions for indirect approaches if you prefer. 

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FWIW, travel policy for undergraduates at my school still supports co-ed rooms, 4 to a room, when the school is paying. 

It used to be mandated, now it's optional but encouraged. 

I think you certainly have a right to ask, but there are no direct liability worries to a school doing this- you always have the option to arrange your own accommodations. So I wouldn't just assume no school would do this, because some indeed do. 

I think it's perfectly fine for you to not want a co-ed room, and I'd hope most schools would be willing to work with you to accommodate that. It's just not always the norm.

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It ended up being a mistake.   It had the wrong number of people.  It just seemed odd and like it would be a weird thing especially since you don't know the people.   I actually am getting my own room which I think confirms my fear of being the only woman admitted so far.  

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As a woman in a predominantly female field, you rock my socks, and I'm glad you're going into your field.  I understand the fear of being the only female (I was the only woman in a male-dominant field for a long time), and I hope you're able to get into your program and rock their socks off and help women in maths be the norm, not the exception.

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I actually had a cohort for an interview that was all female in a science field. We were all given our own suites, so I wouldn’t say you were the only girl invited quite yet. I have been on 2 visits. Both getting my own room. It depends on the program and the money they have. Even within the same school some programs were stuffing people in one room, and we had a whole kitchenette and a king bed in the same hotel as them. 

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