College to study housing situation
A College committee that looks at issues related to the Dartmouth Plan will recommend today that a committee of administrators, faculty and students study the Fall-term housing shortage.
The recommendations, which remain subject to formal approval this morning from the enrollment committee, came out of a meeting yesterday afternoon, said Dean of the Faculty James Wright, who chairs the enrollment committee.
Registrar Thomas Bickel, who is on the enrollment committee, said he expects the new committee to have its recommendations ready by November.
But the committee's recommendations will not provide a solution to the immediate problem of the more than 180 people who still remain without housing for the Fall term.
"I certainly am sympathetic with them," Wright said. "There's not much we can do. I don't think, quite frankly, that there is any easy fix for this fall."
Summer Student Assembly President Grace Chionuma '96 said she is upset that the College has not done anything to head off the housing crunch until now.
"It's absolutely ridiculous for students and administrators and faculty to be sitting here .. and not making any actual plans for these students who are coming back ... and are going to be homeless," she said.
"Things that people are proposing, none of them are short-term proposals. Over 150 people are going to be homeless. The lack of motion and inertia in this situation is beyond belief," she said.
Students "should have been notified [earlier] &emdash; they knew this was going to happen," she said.
Students without housing for next fall may be forced to change their D-plans. The $100 fine for changing Fall term D-plans has been waived so students without housing can switch to an off term without penalty, Bickel said.
Members of the committee blamed the Fall term housing shortage on students' D-plan choices, and the freedom they have to select their D-plans, but not on the size of the student body.
"We admitted fewer freshmen this year than we did last year to try to head off this problem," Wright said. "The fundamental problem is that we have a system where students have free choice of D-plans ... and now they're all choosing to be here in the Fall term."
Bickel said it may be necessary to restrict students' D-plans to solve the crisis, but he said that it would have to use a random lottery.
"I don't think we could base it on petitions then say we'll pick the most worthy ones," he said. "In the last few years, everyone has received their first choice."
Wright said that building a new dormitory is not out of the question, but added that he doesn't consider that the best solution.
"It has not been ruled out, but building a new dorm is not an answer to the short-term problem," he said. "Building another dormitory is really not an answer to deal with a problem that you only have ten weeks a year."
Bickel said, "It's hard to justify spending a lot of money for something that you don't need in the winter or the spring."
Members of the enrollment committee include Associate Dean of the Faculty Peter Armstrong, Associate Dean of Residential Life Bud Beatty, Bickel, Dean of Admissions Karl Furstenberg, Dean of the College Lee Pelton and Wright.