SA rejects women's dormitory

by Maggie Fritz | 11/18/93 6:00am

The Student Assembly voted down a motion Tuesday night that recommended the creation of an affinity residence hall for students concerned about women's issues.

The motion, which would have supported creating a Women's Perspective Residence Hall, was sponsored by Rukmini Sichitiu '95 and Danielle Moore '95.

Sichitiu said the dormitory would "be a support structure for women at Dartmouth."

"It will foster dialogue and it will have a strong academic focus," she said of the proposed hall.

But for now supporters will have to do without the full Assembly's support for the program.

The Office of Residential Life, Dean of Faculty James Wright and Dean of Students Lee Pelton must approve the idea before the dorm can be created.

"ORL definitely supports the motion," Sichitiu said at the meeting. "Their questions are about the details. They would like to see a strong show of student support. It will go into effect next fall whether or not you support the motion."

But Dean of Residential Life Mary Turco took a more cautious stand yesterday.

"In principle I would support a group of students who were interested in working with faculty to create an academically-affiliated program," Turco said. "I don't even know what they proposed."

Turco explained that the Assembly had declined her offer to speak on the topic.

A women's issues dormitory "must have faculty support and a substantial amount of student support," Turco said. "I think the Student Assembly acted prematurely. They proceeded without information."

Sichitiu and Moore said they hope to use North Hall, which accommodates 20 students, as the building for the proposed program. Upperclass students, men as well as women, would apply to live in the Women's Perspective hall, according to the proposal.

The residence hall would sponsor panels, discussions, debates and lectures, Sichitiu said.

Yun Kyung Chung '97, who has applied for a transfer to another college, said a women's issue residence hall may have changed her decision to leave the College.

"Perhaps if this type of dorm had been here this year, I would not even think about transferring," Chung said. "There's a long way to go toward supporting the livelihood of women here."

But many Assembly members oppose the program.

"I'm not convinced that this is any better than the Women's Resource Center," said Class of 1995 President Tim Rodenberger. "By sticking everyone in the same housing unit, aren't you defeating the purpose?"

Dave Weinberg '96 disagreed with Rodenberger.

"By putting these people together we're giving them a forum where they can discuss these issues," Weinberg said. "This will give the people who want to be involved the opportunity to benefit the campus. This is beneficial for both men and women."

Assembly member Grant Bosse '94 said women and men should feel comfortable in every residence hall.

Assembly President Nicole Artzer '94 supported the motion.

Reporter Colin Grey contributed to this article.