EDITORIAL & OPINIONS
Housing's zany lie
With an occurrence as rare as this year's
double cohort, it would be naive not to expect unforeseen problems
when it comes to the first week of school.
In those terms, Western's two move in days
went surprisingly well. In an entirely different way, however,
the way the university has handled accommodation of first-year
students in residence is far from ideal.
The tripling up of thirty rooms in Delaware
Hall - rooms designed for two occupants - comes as a great surprise
to the general university population.
Obviously, the planned conversions (the installation
of bunk beds) had been in the works for quite some time. Indeed,
the incoming students were informed of the situation. The problem?
No one else knew.
For the past two years, any time Western officials
were asked how they planned to keep their traditional promise
that all first-year students are guaranteed a residence bed,
they explained that a new residence (Perth Hall) was being built
and many of the upper-year rooms were being reassigned.
The changes to Delaware were never mentioned.
Although Susan Grindrod, associate vice-president of housing
and ancillary services, denies purposely omitting the plans,
the fact remains they were deliberately kept secret.
Administration's lie by omission is more of
a black eye than had they been up front with their decision
when it was originally made.
Sure, you could argue that only the incoming
students needed to know whether they'd be stuck in a room with
one more body than should be there. But Western is (supposedly)
a community. And it is clear the deflection of media questions
leading up to the double cohort was a public relations ploy
to avoid any controversy.
The students stuck in those tripled up rooms
are still in a period of adjustment like all the other frosh.
But it doesnŐt take a psychic to predict a lot of them may end
up unhappy with the raw deal they got, even if they were warned
ahead of time.
For its part, administration was in an admittedly
difficult situation. They set enrollment targets as part of
an agreement with the province to accommodate the double cohort
and even with the addition of Perth Hall there apparently aren't
enough beds to house every first-year student.
But instead of attempting to maintain its
traditional promise of a residence bed for every frosh, Western
should have been realistic and up front about not being able
to adequately (and fairly) give every first-year an on campus
Instead, they're letting a significant group
of frosh pay for their ability to still say every first-year
student gets a bed. It's just too bad those beds are now literally
stacked on top of each other.