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A Res Life plan to quiet the complainers

By Dan Cassino
Arizona Daily Wildcat
February 11, 1999
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Arizona Daily Wildcat

Dan Cassino

Today, everyone hoping to remain in a dorm next semester is looking over his shoulder. In order to make room for incoming freshmen, Residence Life is planning to hold a lottery later this month to see who will be allowed to stay. Want to stay? Maybe you'll be lucky.

We do need to change the system but not this way. This plan has one major flaw: it gives students the opportunity to complain, something that they will certainly take full advantage of. Some of them will be kicked out of their dorms for no good reason. Maybe they should be complaining.

Instead, who stays and who goes should be determined by merit. Not on an individual, case by case basis but on a much narrower basis.

First off, let's establish how a University of Arizona student would be able to qualify to get into a dorm. The requirements would be as follows:

(1) The student attends the UA or has been accepted.

(2) For some reason, the student wants to live in a dorm, is a freshman, or doesn't have much choice in the matter.

That's pretty much it. But this policy would make it too easy to get into the dorms! We would be even more overcrowded than we are now! To resolve this, we'll have to make it easier to get kicked out of the dorms. What follows are the proposed guidelines.

(1) Receive less than your chosen dorm's minimum GPA

(2) Take less than 12 credit hours per semester

(3) Have alcohol or drugs in your dorm

Now, some explanation is in order. The plan would also include the creation of more "theme" dorms. We already have an honors dorm and a substance-free dorm. If we want to more closely regulate who gets in and who gets kicked out, we should create more "theme" dorms and closely apply the rules.

Rather than have just an honors dorm, we could have a dorm for those who have GPAs between 2.0 and 2.5 or 2.5 and 3.0. Incoming freshmen would choose the dorm that they would like to live in. They would sign an official-looking paper saying they agree to follow the rules of the dorm, or they forfeit their money and their room. If, after the first semester, they don't have the GPA to make it, they're out. This way, those who can make the grade can stay in. Those who don't remove themselves from the running.

The university makes more money: after the unfortunate student leaves, his room can be rented out to the next name on the waiting list.

Of course, the first semester, we would have to apply these changes retroactively. Anyone with a GPA below, say, 2.0., or who had previously been caught with controlled substances, would be automatically removed, just to get the system started.

It's easy to imagine objections to strict enforcement of the rules, especially the drug provisions. Can't you hear them: "I was kicked out because my roomie was smoking marijuana! I'm getting kicked out by no fault of my own!"

But these complaints are flawed. If the student knew that the roommate was smoking marijuana and didn't report it, she should be kicked out for abetting. If the student honestly did not notice anything that her roommate was doing within the confines of something slightly larger than a medium-sized fishbowl, she should be kicked out for gross stupidity.

Probably the best benefit is that the high turnover would allow residents to switch away from a disliked roomie. Many would find this plan worthwhile just for that.

Currently, Residence Life needs to free up about 200 beds. These guidelines would need to be fleshed out, of course, but they would certainly give us all of the space we need, with the extra money as a bonus.

This plan is a lot more reasonable than the one currently proposed. Of course, people will end up getting kicked out anyway to make room for the freshmen, but it's hardly in the way of a noble sacrifice. They will have brought it on themselves. Of course, that means that they can't really complain, and that's the point, isn't it?