Johnson Hypotheticals

Hypo # 1

A state university (SU) has had racial tensions in its freshmen dorms, including a number of incidents of violence.  It decides to segregate freshmen in the dormitories by race.  After a student’s freshman year, however, students can choose any roommate they want.  The policy is challenged by a freshman at the university.

What result and why?

Hypo # 2

When registering for dormitory housing, SU gives entering students the option of requesting a roommate by a number of criteria including the selection of a roommate of the same race.  The program is designed to make students comfortable in their new surroundings.  The same race selection option is challenged by a student as a violation of the 14th Amendment.

What result and why?

Would the percentage of students who select a roommate of the same race make a difference in answering this question? What if was 100%, 60%, 40%, 20% or 1%?

Hypo # 3

A state prison system uses physical characteristics including height, weight, and physical strength (but not race) to make cell assignments when prisoners are double-bunked in the prison’s reception center for new prisoners.  Under this system, inmates with short stature and slight builds are assigned to be double bunked with roommates of a similar physical description; similarly tall, muscular inmates are assigned to the same cell.  The rationale for this policy is so physically weaker inmates are not taken advantage of by physically stronger ones, a problem in the prison.

What result and why?