Residential colleges threatened by 2030 second-year housing plan – The Cavalier Daily

After panic spread among residential colleges last week due to rumors of closure, student representatives met with administrators who confirmed that no final decisions have been made about the future of residential colleges this year. However, the final decision on these housing options remains uncertain, as the university confirms that all options are on the table.

Leaders of Brown College, a residential college open to students over the years, sent an email to residents on Sept. 7 and said the Office of Student Affairs would vote on a plan to eliminate residential colleges in the following weeks. Interim Dean of Students Cedric Rucker met with students on Sept. 15 and told representatives that the committee responsible for the decision had not yet discussed the issue.

University spokeswoman Bethany Glover confirmed that while the university is working with an outside consultant to develop options to house all sophomores at Grounds, there will be no changes this year.

“There are still several years to go about the sophomore housing requirements, and future prospective students will be informed well in advance of their formal implementation so they are aware of the requirements before enrolling at the university,” Glover said in a written statement to Cavalier. Daily. “Current student housing plans will not be affected.”

This housing adjustment reflects a central goal of the university’s 2023 plan Strategic plan – Housing all second-year students on the grounds. There are currently about 1,978 beds available For upper class students, residential colleges are not included. This year’s sophomore class It includes Just over 4,000 students.

One development project moving the university toward this goal is the construction of new housing on Brandon Street. These residences are nearing completion and will a house An additional 348 people from the upper class. Even with these new spaces, the university must create at least 1,500 new beds in the next six years to accommodate the entire second-year class — and this calculation does not take into account third and fourth years remaining on the grounds.

However, there are an additional 712 beds at Grounds, belonging to the university’s three residential colleges – close-knit living and learning communities among students with similar values ​​or passions – to which students must apply.

Brown College — the oldest of the three colleges — Offers A unique community where students and faculty live and work in close proximity to each other. The International Residential College is Larger A residential college, where international students make up 30 percent of the residents. Hereford College concentrate On programming related to sustainability and cultural diversity.

After her meeting with Rucker, Lara Howell, president of Brown and a third-year student at the college, said she remains uneasy about the long-term outcomes for Brown and other residential colleges.

“Coming out of the meeting, I was happy to be able to tell the students I represent that they will receive housing for next year,” Howell said. “But I worry about the problems future student leaders will have to face at residential colleges.”

The university began an external review of the situation with an advisory group last year, according to Howell. Student leaders discussed the importance of residential colleges through sessions with the company, but the advisory group’s final report was never shared with the public.

The university is still exploring how to determine how residential colleges will impact housing requirements for both underclassmen and upperclassmen in the coming years.

The proposal obtained by The Cavalier Daily from consultancy group Brailsford and Dunlavey lays out three main housing scenarios, including micro, moderate and macro development.

The mini-development includes a new 1,500-bed second-year residential development with all residential colleges and almost all other residences designated for second years. This option would reduce the percentage of families in the third and fourth years to four percent compared to the current 18 percent.

Another option involves adding two new projects for the second year for a total of 2,100 beds, constructing a 500-bed building for the third and fourth years and allocating IRC and Hereford for the second years only. Brown College will be reallocated to third and fourth years.

The more expensive plan calls for the construction of 2,600 beds for second years, allowing Brown College and the IRC to operate at their current capacity as residential colleges. Combined with an additional 800-bed development, this plan will save the two residential colleges and maintain the current percentage of third- and fourth-year students living on the grounds.

None of these three outcomes will maintain Hereford’s status as a residential college. Details, including a timeline for those options, were not provided in the portions of the presentation obtained by The Cavalier Daily.

Despite the 2030 plan Includes The new housing goal pushes the upper class out of loose goals of keeping third and fourth years connected to their housing communities, said Stephenie Odom Thomas, IRC Cabinet Chair and a third-year college student.

“I’m concerned, in general, about what appears to be a prioritization of the first and second years over the third and fourth years, particularly with respect to residential colleges, which have had a precedent of housing all (four) years (of students),” Odom-Thomas said.

Howell and Odom-Thomas said they want to continue meetings with the administration to understand what the university is planning and how to prioritize different housing options.

“I think the most important thing we want at this point moving forward is to have a seat at the table and be part of the conversation,” Howell said. “We understand the value residential colleges provide to the community and to the university as a whole.”

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