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Untitled Document

Residential Council Minutes :: March 17, 2009

Present: James Reed (Chair), Greg Anderson (Policy Chair), Mark Fuller (Program House Chair), Ben Lowell (Lottery Chair), Jillian Robbins (Secretary), Sophie Asher, Jerry Cedrone, EJ Chung, Chaz Kelsh, Adam Lewin, Jane Zhang

Guests: Dean Tom Forsberg

This past week, students submitted lottery applications:

  • Applications were due on Sunday evening
    • Should lottery applications be due on a business day so that people with questions can more easily talk to/get in touch with Jenna?
  • Students who were offered off-campus permission had the option to rescind their permission until Super Deadline Day - if they did so after Super Deadline Day, they can't go through lottery and must go through the Summer Assignment Process
  • Lottery numbers should be released by the end of this week
  • Fun fact: priority numbers are randomly assigned based on semester level before the lottery applications are submitted
    • to be eligible to enter lottery, you must already have a priority number
  • The list of rooms available in lottery will be released by the end of this week or right after spring break
  • Members of ResCouncil will be holding office hours in the ResLife Office, answering any questions about lottery on Thursday, April 2, Friday April 3, and Monday April 6
  • The housing lottery will occur in Sayles Hal
  • One of the classrooms off of the main hall will be devoted to floor plans - hopefully, this will prevent the lobby from becoming very crowded
  • Members of ResCouncil should expect to be at lottery from 5 to 9:30

Review of the Suite Fee Proposal:

  • Proposed: to remove the suite fee and instead have this cost equalized among all Brown students
  • About 80% of Brown students live on campus per year
  • About 40% of Brown students receive financial aid
  • If we were to equalize the suite fee across campus, each student would pay an additional $150 per year
  • However, why should all students pay for a select few to live in suites?
  • Not everyone will have the opportunity to live in a suite while at Brown (and not everyone wants to!)
  • Is stratification needed? In theory, then people with the worst lottery numbers would pay less
    • then, having a bad lottery number would not seem as bad
    • this would lead to further stratification
  • It seems unlikely that the corporation (which approves all fees imposed on students) would approve this
  • We must keep in mind that there is a population of students who want to live in a suite with friends, but can't because they can't afford it
    • this population does exist - how can we help them out?
  • For as many schools that have standard room fees, there are just as many schools with stratified housing prices
  • Living in a suite is a luxury - just as anything that enhances a student's learning experience is - a suite is an amenity
    • not everyone has a laptop, but Brown does not provide them to students without them and then charge all students to contribute to this cost
  • Should the Office of Financial Aid pay for the suite fee? Does it make sense to have people who can pay the $1100 fee pay it, and have the Office of Financial Aid cover it for everyone else?
  • We can't blanket the cost of set-top boxes into the housing fee, so how can we realistically consider adding this fee?
  • Fundamental question: should rooms be charged differently based on their quality/amenities/what they offer
  • Poll to gauge opinions: 1 in favor of the proposal, 9 opposed

Alternatives to this proposal:

  • ResLife cannot 'rank' all rooms on campus - people have different opinions about dorms
  • However, rooms could be ranked by amenity (for example - bathroom? sink? common room?) and then the prices could be stratified based on amenity
  • All freshmen housing would have the same cost
  • The potential problem: Brown guarantees housing for all 4 years, but some people are placed in housing
    • we would have to establish a 'placement' rate, where, when a student has no choice in rooms, there is a flat rate
    • this would prevent students' having to reject housing placement based on cost
  • Our current system (fee for suites, all other rooms being the same price) has been in place for approximately 10 years
  • There used to be a more stratified system in place (singles were more expensive than doubles, etc.)
  • However, this old system was abolished due to concerns from the Office of Financial Aid
  • We would have to do more research as to what the system actually was
  • We would also have to talk to the Office of Financial Aid about the problems of the old stratified system and how they could be solved
  • Should the Policy Committee begin outlining a new stratified system based on amenities offered in certain dorms?

Update on Interfaith House:

  • They now have 8 people who want to live in the program house for 2009 -2010
  • They have taken the recommendations we have made for next year
  • They will continue to live in Diman next year, but they will be a type A house
  • The lounge and kitchen will be open to any student living in Diman

NOTES:

  • Beginning this fall, Facilities will no longer clean the bathrooms in Grad Center!
  • ResCouncil's last meeting of the semester will be held Tuesday April 28th - this is when elections will be held

End of Meeting

Submitted by Jillian Robbins, Residential Council Secretary 2008-2009