You’ll have to forgive us if this feels a little bit like dj vu.

Reading the Jan. 24, 2002 edition of the Campus Times brought back a lot of interesting memories. In fact, if you change a couple of names and dates in the lead article “Freshman housing to be re-evaluated,” it could easily be mistaken for something published in 1999.

Of course, hindsight is better than

20/20, so it’s neither difficult nor particularly meaningful to trip over ourselves to commend the upper administration for endorsing a plan to move the freshman housing program to Susan B. Anthony, Hoeing and Gilbert Halls. The fact that this program is far better suited to Sue B. than the Residential Quad was patently clear to anyone willing to take an honest look at the proposal when it was first presented at the end of the spring 1999 semester.

Countless people were there to take that honest look, but, unfortunately, the journey that the freshman housing project took from proposal to implementation was a flight with all its passengers handpicked and pre-boarded.

From the moment the ball dropped ? conveniently timed at the end of a semester ? your student government went into action. Dozens of elected students on all sides of the issue worked tirelessly to gauge student opinion, host town meetings and listen to everyone who wanted their voice heard.

In January of 2000, President Jackson’s announcement of the new program confirmed that freshman housing had been a fait accompli from the beginning. At that time, your student government shifted gears and committed itself to creating the best freshman housing system possible. They did this in spite of the overwhelming conclusion that this was an unwelcome and unnecessary addition to the university.

All of this made for very good theater, but very little else. As it turned out, the implemented system bore a remarkable resemblance to the proposal of the original freshman housing committee, which bore a remarkable resemblance to that committee’s preliminary proposal, which came a full year earlier. Not only were the students involved in the debate ignored, but the staff of one of the most highly rated residential life programs in the country were also completely stonewalled by the upper administration.

And now, as reality hits and this system cooked up in a social engineer’s office isn’t living up to its promised potential, your student leaders have hours and hours of committee and subcommittee meetings to look forward to, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Now that it seems that one of the major prophecies of the work of your 1999-2000 student government is slowly coming true, it may be time to revisit the rest of their work. In the course of these discussions, it became clear that a far better match for the housing stock and campus culture was a freshman-sophomore housing program. Others felt that freshman housing should be a program that could be opted into, like Special Interest Housing. (Ask an upperclassman if the memory of that program has already been purged from the institution.)

At any rate, the overwhelming majority felt that there was absolutely no point in making massive programmatic changes for the sake of making changes, and the benefits that the freshman housing program offered could be realized in a less institution-jarring manner.

To the Class of 2005: the most important question that should be asked is “Are you better off now than you would have been without freshman housing?” Based on what we’ve been reading in the Campus Times, that question isn’t being asked as loudly as it should be.

Are you better off than you would have been? We’re not there ? we don’t know. We’re just asking.

Scott Jennings, Class of 2000, is the former Students’ Association president. Christopher Sabis, Class of 2000, is the former speaker of the Students’ Association senate.

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