Uppers to be ousted from residences next year
By Sara Marett
Upper-year students and residence volunteers beware your room at Western may be spoken for next year.
Yesterday's Board of Governors meeting proposed a new policy regarding who will receive residence rooms next year in light of significantly increased first-year student enrollment rates this year.
Western's President Paul Davenport explained the current assigning policy involves offering upper-year students a room only after all first-year students have been placed, in accordance with this year's guaranteed residence for all first-year students.
However, if numbers continue to rise, the current ratio of first-year students to upper-year students at 70 per cent to 30 per cent respectively will have to change, explained Western's VP-administration Peter Mercer.
He added the percentage of first-year students in residence will most likely be raised to 85 or 90 per cent. "We believe this will pick up most of the slack," Mercer said, referring to the overbooking of residence rooms which occurred this fall, resulting in students being placed at the King's Inn downtown and a third bed being added to rooms in Delaware Hall.
"We will no longer be able to offer places in the residences for students who hold volunteer positions, such as sophs," Mercer said, adding staff positions, such as residence advisors, would continue to be provided with a room.
Student Board member Chris Keith asked the Board if removing such volunteer members from the residences would increase the workload for residence advisors and other on-site staff.
Mercer replied this is a concern of the administration and perhaps the new policy would warrant extra off-campus staffing for each residence.
Ryan Parks, University Students' Council president and student Board member, said there is an important role sophs have within the residences, not just during orientation week, but for the entire year. "To have the sophs living off-campus is somewhat superficial they provide an important service to students in residence," he added.
President Paul Davenport said the new policy may only be in place for a few years as the administration will soon begin planning a new residence to be built by the year 2000.
"If we had another building we would be pleased to sustain the overload we had this year," Davenport said, adding the priority is given to first-year students as guaranteed residence is an effective recruitment tool, as proven by this year's enrollment numbers.
Mercer explained a feasibility study must be completed before building plans are put in place. "If we decide to go ahead with it, the timeline is tight and we must move very quickly. As of tomorrow morning we will be moving full tilt to get this [residence] going," he said.
Mayor Diane Haskett encouraged the Board to consider a downtown location for the new residence. She added the city would look into providing free land on which the university could build.