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The Dartmouth
June 21, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Trustees reaffirm Berry plans

Despite a firestorm of recent criticism from many students and faculty members against the plans for the Berry Library, the College's Board of Trustees issued a statement yesterday reaffirming its commitment to the current designs -- meaning that construction should begin this spring as scheduled.

In the statement, the Trustees say they recognize that the design of such a major building is an issue on which "reasonable people can differ," but the statement stresses that the Trustees themselves "continue to be pleased with the design."

The Trustees also said that they "appreciate the concerns expressed by members of the Design Committee and others" and that these concerns will continue to be taken into account "in the ongoing refinement of the new facility's design."

Art History Professor Joy Kenseth, who spearheaded the opposition to the library's current designs, said that she was not surprised by the Board's decision.

But she also expressed hope that the Board would continue to modify the building -- in particular the library's detached facade.

Kenseth also said the recent dissent regarding Berry -- capped off by two petitions to the Trustees calling for a modification of the plans -- would hopefully call attention to the flaws of the current system of planning a new building.

"The entire process has to be rethought," she said.

One of the major problems Kenseth said she had with the system was that, when the plans were first presented last May, the Design Review Committee seemed to be powerless to modify them.

Although the Trustees' statement says that the plans were revised in early July, Kenseth and others felt that the Trustees had not adequately addressed the Design Review Committee's complaints with the building.

Kenseth said that she would recommend the formation of several new committees to combat this problem. She proposed a formation of one or more committees -- which would consist of students, faculty, and alumni -- with "more clout."

Trustee Kate Stith-Cabranes, the chair of the Trustees' Committee on Educational Affairs and Facilities, said last night that the Board would be happy to hear more from Kenseth about her idea for new committees.

Design Review Committee member Robert McGrath, a professor of art history, said that he applauded Kenseth's suggestions, and will continue to support her in her efforts. McGrath was optimistic about the Trustees' statement, saying it left room for "continued refinement" of the $50 million project.