WT students react to dorm changes

Local. Art by Chris Brockman.

Local. Art by Chris Brockman.

When students living in Cross and Jones hall first found out that both dorms were being reserved for incoming Freshmen enrolled in the university’s Living Learning Community program, reactions varied from indifference to outrage. Vice President of Student Affairs Donna Eddleman, Assistant Director of Residence Life David Wilson and Area Coordinator Lindsey Eggleston held a question and answer session in the lobby of Cross hall on March 4, where students voiced their concerns and provided ideas for compromise.

Shortly afterward on March 11, an email went out to the residents of Cross and Jones detailing the changes made to the Living Learning Community plans after student input was taken into consideration. By the new plan, both dorms would remain single gender instead of becoming co-ed. The most significant change was a large reduction in the number of reserved rooms. Instead of all the beds in both buildings being reserved, now only the second floor and select rooms on the third and fourth floors of Cross will be reserved along with the entire third and sixth floors of Jones hall.

“Our new plan  allows current Cross and Jones residents to return to the same hall (although not necessarily the same room) next year which means that we don’t have to discount cost for alternative halls, modify the housing requirements or adjust meal plan pricing – all of which were suggestions I appreciate receiving,” Eddleman said in the email.

The email still alluded to the possibility of the original plan being implemented in full in a later academic period.

“This is not ideal, but establishing more closely aligned and diverse communities is something we can aspire to do in the future,” Eddleman said. “Therefore, this letter serves to make you aware that both Jones and Cross Hall may be used exclusively for learning communities and first year students beginning in academic year 2015-2016.”

Resident’s reactions to these changes have been mixed. Some, like sophomore Mass Communications major Isaac Gallegas, had already begun making plans to move to a different residence hall on campus, and others plan to move off campus entirely.

“I think it’s fair, it’s not going to bother me,” Gallegas said. “I’m moving to a different hall. They have a year to see if it works, but I think it will be a good idea.”

“I wasn’t too pleased at first,” Michael Williams, junior Sports and Exercise Science major, said. “It’s better now that they changed it.”

Not everyone is happy about the changes to the plan, however.

“I still think it’s a joke,” Kim Cory, Wildlife Biology major, said.  “Yes, it’s a good compromise, especially for those who don’t meet exceptions to move of campus yet, but they’re still going to expand it to both dorms the year after. That will mean a lot of people have to move out their senior year.”

Displaced residents will still receive priority in choosing available rooms during their registration process, though no other concessions have been made for those moving to more expensive residence halls nor have any requirements for moving off campus been relaxed for affected students.