The Undergraduate Residential Life Committee (URLC) has been talking for the past several weeks about cutting one or more buildings from the West College program and opening those spaces up to General Room Selection (GRS) – the URLC has been considering ways to increase access to Foss Hill. The reasons for considering downsizing WestCo included a failure to attract enough sophomore applicants to fill rooms and WestCo’s inability to attract Students of Color. The Committee will reach a decision on Tuesday, but as of the last meeting, the members of the Committee were split on the issue.
“Honestly, these reasons don’t justify removing a building,” said Student Affairs Committee (SAC) Chair Mike Pernick ’10, who co-chairs the URLC with the director of Residential Life. “WestCo saw a one-year drop in the number of sophomore applicants – there were 105 applicants last year and only 81 this year – but my impression is that it is a one-year trend.” (WestCo needs to fill 57 spots with sophomores each year.)
The proposal elicited a strong response from the WestCo community.
“What we’ve been talking about is what we think will be a demoralizing effect on the community,” said Sarah Leitson ’11, one of the five WestCo presidents. “The decision doesn’t take into account the vibrant community life that does exist in WestCo.” Leitson also noted that the WestCo community has acknowledged the validity of some of the concerns brought forth by the URLC and is looking at ways to improve upon these problems.
Pernick met with the WestCo Presidents and residents at WestCo’s weekly meeting, Guidance, to discuss the issue. “I’m going to stand up for the student body and do what I can to ensure a building isn’t removed,” he said. “Removing a building would be a demoralizing and inadequate response to the problems the community has faced.”
If the proposed cut passes the URLC, it is then referred to the Student Life Committee for a final decision. “Wesleyan’s bureaucracy is a convoluted mess, but it allows students to effectively impact the University’s decisions and even decide many University policies,” said Pernick. “Students have a majority on the Student Life Committee.”
Note: Special thanks to Mr. Pernick for letting everyone know what’s up.