Plan for the long haul
The short-term provisions released by the Enrollment Committee on Monday will not solve the campus housing crunch and fall far short of the promises made by the College this summer.
In an August letter to students and parents, then-Dean of the Faculty James Wright wrote, "The Enrollment Committee recognizes that we need to look at next year and beyond in order to ensure that this year's situation never occurs again."
The Enrollment Committee's provisions, developed after a full term's worth of work, do not represent any significant action to solve a problem that affects the majority of students: not enough beds in residence halls for the amount of students who want to be on campus in any given term.
Though the committee thinks its actions will prevent another housing crunch from occurring, the lack of a concrete plan leaves students in limbo because they can not make concrete plans of their own.
The Enrollment Committee says the Registrar will "work on a plan" to manage fall-term enrollments and "will discuss" the possibility of changing priorities for classes, the Off-Campus Programs Office "will work on" moving programs to the fall and the Enrollment Committee will "write a letter" to all sophomores alerting them of a possible housing crunch.
These are not "action-steps," as the Committee calls them; they are good suggestions. The administration has had five months to develop solutions -- it is too late to be "looking at" or "discussing" possibilities.
The Enrollment Committee wrote in its memo that it is continuing to consider long-range solutions including modifying the Dartmouth Plan, changing admissions numbers, moving rush and adding a new dormitory as part of an "ongoing process" and only "if necessary."
Continual long-range planning with no action is foolish and only serves to harm the students.
There has been an annual housing crunch since Winter term of 1991 and the College has done nothing as part of "ongoing" investigations since then.
The College should build a new dormitory and seriously investigate what is at the root of all housing crunches -- the D-Plan.
The College should set a strict timetable for the proposal and implementation of long-term solutions, rather than take a wait-and-see attitude.
Either of these two options will take time to put in place, but the longer the College postpones making these tough decisions, the longer the housing crises will continue.