Editorial Board 2001-2002
Home sweet home?
Home sweet home?
While Western currently guarantees residence to all incoming first-year students, it would seem that guarantee has a few loopholes.
Last week, some bright-eyed and bushy-tailed frosh were surprised to learn there is a bed shortage in residence. Upon arrival at Western, a number of first-year students were promptly moved into study rooms, student lounges and even their residence dons' rooms.
No desks, closets, phones or Internet for these students, even though these services have been paid for in residence fees. To add insult to injury, there are no washrooms on their immediate floor and excess students are now overcrowding already busy showers.
The 28 frosh currently affected were informed four days before move-in they were not going to be placed in regular rooms.
Overbooking residences at Western is routine the administration depends on a certain number of cancellations to adequately fill all of the rooms. This year, the anticipated number of cancellations was not met, leaving many students without a room.
In the past, the overbooking dilemma has been handled by providing rooms in the King's Inn hotel downtown, but housing services has been extremely vague in their communication about how the current situation will be dealt with. There is the potential these lounges and study rooms may be carpetted and furnished with desks and wardrobes.
Compensation for these students is necessary. They should be refunded for the Reznet and phone line they are unable to use. They should also receive a letter of apology for their inconvenience and tolerance during these difficult times. The current situation has the potential to severly impede their social lives and, quite possibly, their academic life.
We must also consider whether this is just a fluke or a serious concern that could explode with the incoming double cohort.
Many students choose Western because of this option and are now some have been left without a room. Western must reconsider guaranteeing residence if they simply cannot supply it.
The possible solutions are numerous.
Western should implement a grade-weighted system for the duration of the double cohort to eliminate future problems like this. Residence would only be guaranteed to those students meeting a certain academic standard. This is the most fair way of deciding who gets residence and the lack of a guarantee might further alleviate the problem by discouraging some high schoolers from applying.
No matter what the future solution, the current state of affairs is unacceptable. If Western wishes to portray itself as a first class institution it must be able to guarantee first class accomodations for all its first-year students living on-campus.