Trustees will make Berry statement early this week

by Jake Elberg | 11/17/97 6:00am

After discussing the plans for Berry Library over the weekend, the Board of Trustees will release a statement early this week stating its position on the controversial designs, according to an informed source close to the Board.

Construction is currently scheduled to begin in April on the $50 million library despite a wave of recent protests from students and faculty -- including a majority of the Design Review Committee.

College Provost James Wright told The Dartmouth last week that the Berry Library would not be on the Board's agenda, but the source said the Trustees did in fact discuss Berry while in Hanover for their quarterly meeting this past weekend.

Three members of the Board -- including Committee on Educational Affairs and Facilities Chair Kate Stith-Cabranes -- met Thursday with three professors who expressed their concerns with architect Robert Venturi's design for the exterior of the library.

Art History Professor Joy Kenseth -- the woman leading the faculty movement demanding change in the design -- met with the three Board members along with Classics Professor Edward Bradley and Art History Professor Robert McGrath, who is a member of the Design Review Committee.

Bradley said he was not optimistic that the Board would vote to change the building design.

"I think they want to carry on regardless of what the faculty and large numbers of students may think," Bradley said.

Two petitions -- one from the faculty and one from the Student Assembly -- asking the Trustees to halt action towards the construction of the library were presented to the Board last week.

The Student Assembly presented a petition Saturday morning to Chairman of the Board Stephen Bosworth. The petition included 1,550 signatures -- almost all of them from students, according to Chance Hill '01, a member of the Assembly Student Life Committee.

Hill said he thinks the petition will cause the Trustees to reconsider since it will represent a "groundswelling of opinion" against the current plans.

"It would be incredibly arrogant of them if they did not stop and listen," Student Assembly President Frode Eilertsen '99 said.