The 2005 Class Council held a heated meeting last night to discuss an idea that would allow upperclassmen back onto the Residential Quad starting this fall.

The idea that was suggested to the Freshman Advisory Committee yesterday by Dean of The College William Green and 2005 Class Council president Jesse Bailey is to move freshman housing primarily to Susan B. Anthony Residence Halls. The remaining freshmen would be housed in Gilbert and Hoeing Halls.

The council took a preliminary vote on the idea Wednesday night. With two members not in attendance, six of the present council members voted in agreement with the idea of moving freshman housing to SBA, Hoeing and Gilbert, four members voted against it and three were undecided.

Green first brought up the idea in response to complaints that he had been receiving about the current freshman housing situation. Green stated that the purpose of the Freshman Advisory Committee is to continually review freshman housing, and this recent idea is just another aspect of that mission.

If at the end of the review we “find something that works better, we will fix it,” Green said.

The proposal to move freshman housing would be “more beneficial to unify the class more,” Bailey said.

Currently, the entire freshman class lives in the six Residential Quad buildings. The new proposal would roughly split the freshman class between SBA and the two dorms on the Residential Quad.

A decision on whether to adopt the idea needs to be reached within about a month in order to accommodate the Residential Life housing lottery that begins in February.

Bailey said that several reasons spurred the proposal, including a desire to increase housing options for upperclassmen and to find a building that is better suited to freshman housing. At schools such as Harvard and Duke universities, freshman housing has traditionally been more self-sufficient, with amenities such as dining centers and recreation facilities located in freshman dorms.

Danforth Dining Center is located in SBA, which would allow UR to follow the more traditional model.

“Unlike freshman housing models at other campuses, [UR’s] model does not have a lot of components [like a cafeteria] that would complement the idea of freshman housing,” he said.

The proposed model would also give UR more flexibility should it overenroll in the future. In its freshman year, the class of 1999 was about 200 students over target. 150 of this year’s freshman class were unexpectedly placed in triples at the beginning of the year.

Should admissions enroll an oversized class in the future, some of those freshmen could overflow to the other quad buildings. Under the current housing arrangement, extra freshmen have nowhere to go without becoming isolated from the rest of their class.

President Thomas Jackson mandated several years ago that freshmen and sophomores must live on the River Campus.

Prior to the implementation of freshman housing, the lottery allowed upperclassmen a greater variety of room selection.

“The college should have a principle of seniority with housing where the choices expand as you get older,” Bailey said. “It makes little sense for freshmen to have great housing and then lose it” as sophomores.

If ultimately adopted, the proposal runs contrary to a comment made in September 2000 by then-Freshman Housing Committee Co-Chair and University Dean of Students Paul Burgett.

“It become unanimously clear that if were going to do this right, there is only one space for it and that’s the Quad,” he said.

Junior and SA Chief of Staff Lonny Mallach commended administration for their ability to rethink and re-examine their decision.

“It is good that the university is being flexible on this and are willing to look at the possibility of significantly changing freshman housing.”

Hildebrandt can be reached at thildebrandt@hotmail.com.



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