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Student Leaders Support Move To Delay Freshmen On Campus

By Dana Levine

The fallout from President Vest’s 2001 decision prompted students to debate, dispute, and eventually dismantle many of the housing proposals which emerged over the next 18 months.

With the new dorm and thus the 2001 decision pushed to 2002, many student leaders have praised the administration for taking a pragmatic approach to the situation.

“I think that the Chancellor and the senior administration made the correct decision. We will have one more year to adapt, try things out, and get ready for the new residence system,” said Undergraduate Association President Matthew L. McGann ’00.

Damien Brosnan ’01, president of the Interfraternity Council, sees the delay as a boon to the Greek community.

“I think that this will give some houses that might be in financial danger time to act accordingly. More time could potentially mean less houses that are at financial risk,” he said.

Brosnan described the delay as allowing “more time for people to continue what they are doing. We’re just going to continue further.” He mentioned an IFC-sponsored spring rush, which will occur for the first time this year and should become a integral part of the IFC’s recruitment program.

Dormitory Council President Jennifer A. Frank ’00 said that she was “happy to see that of all the options that they were considering, this is the best. It eliminates the overcrowding, and it’s going to give us more time to get the dorms interacting on better terms with the FSILGs.”

Frank noted that the delay would give FSILGs three rushes in which to boost their numbers rather than just two. “Honestly it’s nice to be able to have the experience with what is and going to work,” she said.

Frank believes that the delay will allow students and administrators to develop contingency plans in case of future problems with the new residence or rush system.

John S. Hollywood G, chair of the Strategic Advisory Committee to the Chancellor, said that the administration deserved credit for not sacrificing graduate student housing in order to make room for undergraduates. “Hopefully one would assume that the administration would follow the dictum of first do no harm,” he said.

Hollywood thought that the administration picked a schedule for planning and construction which was too tight. He said that a four to six year time frame for building is standard for a dormitory, and that planning and building in three years is unheard of.

“You can’t make a time estimate on the basis that everything will go right,” Hollywood said.

Hollywood said that the SAC had “realized collectively several days ago that the new dorm wasn’t going to be completed on time.” The SAC was ready to recommend that the decision be pushed back by a year.

Hollywood felt that the delays in dorm construction should not affect the implementation of the new student life plan. “I hope that the senior administration will follow what they said and not delay the other parts of the plan,” Hollywood said.

Hollywood thought that the delay will allow more time for raising capital and soliciting community involvement.

Jennifer C. Berk ’01, a member of the Residence System Steering Committee, described Bacow’s announcement as “clearly the best possible response to the dorm being delayed.”

Berk, however, cautioned that “there are concerns with houses that have begun planning their numbers in 2001” and who may have trouble adjusting to the revised timetable.

Berk stated that the SAC has a “laundry list of questions to ask houses,” which includes spring rush, rush, and new member education, among other things.

Berk said that implementation of the new plan for student life is only just beginning.

“Kolenbrander has some ideas of things to do. We really need to wait and see who is implementing the process and how it works,” she said.

Berk noted that several members of the founder’s group were disappointed by the decision, because they had planned to live in the new dormitory once it opened.