Special Interest Housing has begun its inexorable journey towards death. While we hope that our requiem is premature and our conclusions prove false, we do not believe that they will be if freshman housing continues to be implemented in the current manner.

The strength and success of SIH was rooted in the annual influx of freshmen with mutual interests, in many cases accounting for up to half of a floor. Their new group of friends at college was their floor.

Merging upperclassmen who have already formed friendships at UR into an SIH floor is exceedingly difficult. Unfortunately, this is all SIH is currently left with.

These new members do not become a ?part of the floor? because of their already existing strong connections elsewhere.

The other occurrence is that the new non-freshman members bring their friends with them to the floor and become a clique that does not merge into the SIH community at large. At any rate, they do not synthesize with the floor and, in many cases, only come for the singles and suites.

The SIH floors are in the early stages of declining in membership, collapsing into apathy and being torn apart by their cliques. The only real exceptions to this are floors that have many transfer students or who attract loners without strong associations elsewhere.

If UR still feels as the Residential College Commission did when it issued its final report March 29, 1999 on freshman housing then they must adjust to this fact. Section 2.3d of this report states that:

?Because special-interest housing groups (including fraternities and sororities in residence halls) and the house fraternities are the cornerstones of the present-day campus community, it is vital that these groups undergo minimal adverse impact when freshman housing is implemented. Therefore, a key aspect of our recommendations is that no special-interest housing group will be forced to relocate from the Residential Quad. Additionally, representatives of the special-interest housing groups spoke eloquently of the importance of first-year students to their communities. Therefore, the proposed system allows freshmen to ?opt out? of the unified freshman community if they actively ?opt in? to a special-interest community. This policy helps preserve special-interest housing and is fully consistent with the goal of ensuring that all freshmen be part of a social/academic community.?

Obviously we know that SIH and Greek organizations will not be moving back onto the quad, but we still ask where did the dedication to SIH go?

Even as recently as this August, the Subcommittee on Special Interest and Greek Groups of the Freshman Advisory Committee recognized that ?special interest groups play valuable roles on this campus? ? even while attempting to quell the recruitment of freshmen by these groups.

The administration must allow incoming freshmen to ?actively ?opt-in? to a special-interest community? if they have any desire to save the future of these groups.

We are regularly treated by the administration in a paternal manner and are not allowed the control over the details of our lives that we should have.

Now is the time for the administration to step back and stop experimenting with our lives. We are tired of it and find this behavior and lack of faith in our abilities insulting.

Giving freshmen control over their lives at UR would help free up some of the numerous triples on the Freshman Quad that students are currently forced into and would give students the control over their lives that they deserve.

As freshmen, they can handle the responsibility of choosing between making their friends based on their class year or common interests.

The administration has reached the point of no return ? they must either make a full commitment to the future of Special Interest Housing or end their current farce of a commitment altogether.



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