This fall, when freshmen are exploring dorms and living groups and taking part in Residence Exploration (REX) activities, they’ll have one more dorm to consider: Maseeh. Starting this September, Maseeh Hall will join the list of dorms that participate in First Year Residence Exchange (FYRE), allowing 15 freshmen to switch in and out at the end of REX.
The exact details of implementation — such as what will happen if fewer people want to move out than in — have yet to be decided, but will ultimately either be identical to or closely resemble the current FYRE policy at fellow residence-based advising (RBA) dorm Next House, according to Maseeh Housemaster Jack Carroll.
Maseeh will also adopt Next House’s advising policy for maintaining residence-based advising with residence exchanges. The policy, as communicated to Maseeh students in an email from the housemasters, maintains that students will stay with whatever advisor they were assigned — whether through RBA or through the Undergraduate Advising and Academic Programming office — with the exception that “students moving out who previously were assigned an administrator will be reassigned to a UAAP advisor.” This allows for RBA groups at Maseeh to have members who no longer reside in the dorm.
Associate Dean of Advising and New Student Programming Elizabeth C. Young says there is really “no new policy” regarding advising. The change will have “no bearing on who the freshmen have as their advisors because the faculty that are assigned their advisors will keep those students,” she said.
Maseeh is continuing work with the UAAP this summer to implement the policy to get ready for orientation and REX in the fall.
Initially, the decision that Maseeh would be an RBA dorm meant it had to impose a no-move policy.
Carroll said, “When Maseeh opened, we wanted the house to be part of the RBA program because of the support it could provide our freshmen. Adding that many freshmen to the RBA program, however, created understandable challenges for the UAAP in developing and managing advisor-freshman assignments, so we agreed to a no-move policy for our freshmen.”
But as the RBA program continued to evolve, relaxing the moving restrictions began to seem possible.
“We knew that there were student concerns about this for quite a while,” Carroll said.
Maseeh Hall President Austin D. Fathman ’15 said that the no-move policy had a “locking-in feeling.”
“If you chose Maseeh and got into Maseeh, you were locked in. And that was something that we wanted to change,” he said. “We wanted people to know that Maseeh was their home, and not have a fear of coming in.”
Maseeh House Government took up the issue with their housemasters, who then brought the discussion to the UAAP.
Both the UAAP and the dean for undergraduate education, Dennis Freeman PhD ’86, agreed to let Maseeh adopt the same policy as Next House with regard to freshmen transfers.
“Basically, what this [policy change] allows is that freshmen are able to come in and decide if Maseeh is right for them, just like with most of the other dorms,” Fathman said.
Relaxing the no-move policy also allows Maseeh to participate more fully in REX.
Since freshmen couldn’t enter Maseeh if they hadn’t been assigned to it through the summer housing lottery, Maseeh’s participation in REX events was limited. The no-move policy meant that “the drawbridge was pulled up,” Fathman said.
“In previous years people participated in REX — I put that ‘participated’ in quotes — we threw events, we had a good time, but it was very dorm-[centric] because we knew that while it was open to the community, not a lot of people were interested in coming to check us out. You couldn’t get into Maseeh at that point, so there wasn’t really much point in exploring Maseeh,” he said.
But now that the no-move policy has been lifted, Maseeh will be able to reach out to more people during REX. “I think this year will be a little more focused on bringing everyone on campus in and still having fun events that way,” Fathman said.