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More Housing Shortages

For those of you who have not been in and around Hanover lately, the current controversy sparking student attention involves yet another housing crunch. The crux of the matter is that the Office of Residential Life has decided to limit room draw to only 400 seniors in order to meet their commitments to freshmen and sophomores. The decision to limit seniors on campus (in addition to all members of the class of 2008 and older, as well as fifth year B.E. students) was made because they feel seniors are most capable of finding suitable off campus housing arrangements. Certainly seniors are quite capable of doing just that, given sufficient notice. I’m sure that ORL predicted this problem sooner than late February, but simply chose not to inform the students until housing priority numbers were announced. This delay would make even the most easy going of students irate. When many students from the class of 2009 were shafted in room draw as sophomores due to unusually high numbers of upperclassmen electing to stay in the newly constructed clusters, they comforted themselves with the knowledge that one day they would have seniority. Unfortunately, that seniority will never bear fruit. Seniors will now be forced to search for affordable and nice housing close to campus with only six months lead time. It is well known that to secure the best off campus housing for senior year, a lease should be signed during sophomore summer.

Though Hitchcock was renovated, and two other clusters were added, ORL is predicting a net loss of beds due to the closing of Hinman Hall, Brewster Hall, and the Lodge (which are making room for further construction), and reconfiguration of the dorms to prevent overcrowding. It is inconceivable to me that the Office of Residential Life only recently learned how to count beds, so I must assume that this is the fault of perhaps an overly ambitious administration, willing to sacrifice the needs of the current students in order to complete the construction legacy of the current President of the College. The only legacy I see in this scenario is a lack of concern for the student body.

For more on the controversy, read this editorial and this news article from The Dartmouth, the daily student newspaper.


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