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Untitled Document

Residential Council Minutes :: December 1, 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, James Williams

Absent: Sara Sunshine (unexcused)

Guests: Ben Faber, Chair of the Campus Life Committee, UCS


What do we think about the proposal to alter the common room fee schedule?
Will it spark too much resent from the student body?
Is this policy feasible?
Dean Bova is skeptical of the numerous rates that could arise from all the discrete amenities.
Maybe we can suggest ResLife to implement a 3-tier rate - one for suites with amenities, one for unfurnished suites and one for all other rooms on campus.

2 Current Ideas: we can either split costs up by amenity or we can add a third option - problems inherent in both of these is how to find a balance between too many different options and how to balance against all the various housing options available on campus.
Another alternative: maybe we should keep the policy the way it is but reduce the suite fee while raising the base room fee.

ResLife tries to keep their increases at 3% per year and if we increase the base room fee, we will be exceeding this percentage.
Does it seem logical to ask all students to pay more for their room fee if only a small number of students are going to reap the privilege of having a common room?
What about the cost of having to clean one's own common room and bathroom? Would this cancel out the higher rate that all students are expected to pay?
Whatever ResLife proposes, the corporation must approve the room rates.

What if we asked Greek and program houses to pay extra money for their lounges, kitchens and other common spaces? As of now, they are not paying for these amenities.

How will this all effect financial aid?

There are 4 proposals out on the table:
1) Split all costs up by amenity - lots of stratification,
2) Create a three-tiered system,
3) Decrease suite fee and increase base room fee, or
4) Leave the policy the way it is.

Based on popular vote, it seems that the committee is favorable of options 2 and 3.
Maybe as part of our recommendation, we should include what we believe the problem to be - what needs to be fixed? Why does this policy need to be changed?
Students are angry that they have to pay the same fee as other students who have access to more amenities in their suites.
Essentially, some residents are paying too much and other residents are not paying enough for what they have access to in their rooms.

Current Problem with Suite Fees: perception of unfairness (big difference between suite and non-suite fee) and an inequality amongst the amenities/quality of the suites (thus the need to have staggered fees as opposed to a uniform one). 

Vote to agree on whether or not this is the problem:
Passes, 10 - 0 with 1 abstention.

Obviously, this issue is incredibly complex and there are so many different possible outcomes. Do we want to solve these problems by increasing the numbers of different fees or by compressing the existing ones?

Those in favor of addressing this problem by increasing the number of different fees:
Passes, 9 - 2.  

Those in favor by compressing the two options so they are closer together in cost:
Does not Pass, 2 - 6 with 3 abstentions.


UCS is interested with what the council is doing about card access.
The body is also interested in enhanced communication between the General Student Life Committee of UCS and ResCouncil - there are overlaps in our concerns and we need to establish more formal communication.
Should we exchange minutes?
Perhaps the most efficient communication would consist of the chairs meeting?
Or maybe there should be an appointed person from Campus Life on ResCouncil.


Last Announcements:
I will be going abroad next semester so the council needs to elect a new secretary in January.
The council still has vacancies so we are looking for new members! Please encourage freshmen and sophomores to apply who would be interested in joining.
Housing options fair will be Thursday, January 28, 2010 (2nd day of classes).

Thanks for a great semester!


End of meeting.

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