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Residential Council Minutes :: September 29, 2009


Present: Ben Lowell (Chair), Andrew Tran (Policy Chair), Rachel Kahn (Program House Chair), Jillian Robbins (Lottery Chair), Courtney Mannino (Secretary), Greg Anderson, Sam Barney, Jerry Cedrone, EJ Chung, Evan Holownia, Sara Slama, Sara Sunshine, James Williams

Absent: Jane Zhang (unexcused)


Introduction by Ben:
Policy committee has been discussing lots of ideas.
Want to present to the entire council before anything is drafted and proposed to ResLife.

Gender-neutral housing program is currently limited to a scattered, random group of dorms across campus.
2 primary ides for expansion of the program:
(1) want to have a program house apply for gender neutral privileges - submit something written, come to a ResCouncil meeting, explain themselves, receive approval/disapproval
(2) only dorm that should be gender neutral is Hegeman - all triples (non-locking) - makes sense that you can have people of all gender living in one suite
Rooms don't lock because one of the bedrooms leads out to a fire escape
ResLife really wants to expand the program throughout campus but wants to do so slowly and incrementally

This is the 2nd/3rd year of the gender-neutral program - ResLife wants to evaluate it to see how it can be improved in upcoming years.

Program houses are special - we want all members to be comfortable, therefore we have to make the process really thorough (we don't want the decision to just be left to the house's executive board)

Some program houses - mainly Zete and Marcy - are already gender neutral; could this cause a back-lash from new houses that are applying to the program?
West House really wants to become gender-neutral

Why is Marcy gender-neutral? What didn't ResLife chose another building, like Goddard? We really don't know why some buildings have been chosen over the others but we still have to work through this policy

If we let one program house go gender neutral, will they all want to become gender neutral?
We don't have the power to make a house gender neutral - we just have to make strong recommendations to ResLife

One of ResLife's concern is having triples that are gender neutral; if a vacancy is created, it will be difficult to fill that vacancy because not everyone is comfortable living in a gender-neutral space

2 types of gender neutral: one room (common space shared by people) and suites (non-locking doors)
In order to request a spring semester roommate (to fill a vacancy in that suite), you must wait until winter (suitemates must complete a form to either pull someone into the suite or request a new roommate)

Other policy discussions: off-campus living process - maybe the process should start earlier (last year, implementation took approximately 2 months)
The confusion and hassle can be alleviated (possibly) if we start the process earlier
How do we feel about juniors and sophomores moving into their dorms in August and than shortly after talking about their plans for the following year?
Maybe we can start information sessions in the early fall

Thus far, the policy has not been changed
(November 16th) is the day that the process opens; preliminary due date is about a month later; seniors are approved within the next couple days (unless their applications are late, by which their names will be moved to the top of the waitlist); can still reenter lottery as long as they apply before super deadline day

This past year there was a lot of confusion surrounding the off-campus admission process - especially during the time of the lottery when students decided they didn't want to go off-campus
The second problem was when this past August, students were billed for on-campus housing even though they were intending to live off-campus (turns out they didn't properly fill out the application)

Fundamental problem: if you don't get permission until August, what is the likelihood that you are actually going to live off-campus when you already have an on-campus room?
Maybe ResLife should send out an email after super deadline day letting all students know whether they will be participating in lottery, or whether they have been granted off-campus living permission (just as a reminder to let people what their status is)

What do we think about giving off-campus living permission in August?
This will be an ongoing discussion.

What about distributing a ResLife survey?
How will we make people take the survey?
Should we give a prize?
Maybe an ipod, or maybe a gift certificate to the mall? Or maybe the second choice room on campus (after the first-pick competition)?
Maybe a room upgrade?
What about a Wii?

*Update: the cable system was supposed to be turned off in August, but at the last minute it was decided that we are going to keep cable for another year

Finally, what do we think about the numbers of laundry machines in specific dorms? Are there enought machines or should we be looking more cloesly at the number of students per dorm and the number of current machines? This too will become an ongoing discussion (maybe formation of a committee)

End meeting.

Submitted by Courtney Mannino, Residential Council Secretary, Fall 2009.