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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Feven Getachew
Feven Getachew
May 6, 2024
Michael Lozada
Michael Lozada
May 6, 2024
Nathan Hoffman
Nathan Hoffman
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Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
May 6, 2024

Room draw issues revolve around James

The recent room-draw upheaval caused by the addition of James as a substance-free dorm for the next year has raised questions about he feasibility of a sub-free dorm on south campus.

Assistant Director of Residence Life Kim Hinds-Brush said that the demand for sub-free dorms has increased steadily over the years. “The upperclass demand has increased,” Hinds-Brush said. “We’ve always had first-year demand.”

Despite increasing demands for sub-free housing, James failed to attract the large upperclassman population Student Affairs hoped for, despite James’ large rooms and loggia access.

“We thought on the second floor the really big doubles with loggia access would attract upper-classmen,” said Hinds-Brush. “But they didn’t. I was surprised that the triple on the first floor with its own bathroom went to second-years.”

Technical Assistant for Residence Life and Housing Laura Gogg said she was not disappointed by the results of the draw. “With it being the first year, a new year with that hall, we weren’t expecting it to go as the most popular hall. But it definitely did fill with more upperclassmen and returning students than we had anticipated.”

Beyond James, Gogg was surprised by the three triples left vacant in Smith, which led to an accelerated rush for singles. “Smith usually goes very early in the draw, especially the triples,” said Gogg. “Students that had really good room draw numbers in sub-free went for singles instead of drawing those triples. . .We had all those triples but no one was set up for a triple.”

In the future Gogg hopes to integrate sub-free triples into the special housing selection held weeks before regular room draw, in order to fill up room space.
Gogg has received four requests for the six vacant doubles from students who did not previously register as sub-free, and is trying to accommodate them in order to prevent an all first-year dorm.

“I haven’t made any definite room changes or any commitments to those students,” Gogg said. “It’s definitely something that we’re entertaining to let more of a representation of upper-class students be on south campus and not have it be just a first-year residence hall.”

Kunal Bansal ’12 applied for one of the six doubles in James, and said that the dorm’s surroundings may impact its residents adherence to the sub-free agreement.
“I think it’ll stay relatively sub-free,” Bansal said. “But I don’t think that it will be as sub-free as Kershaw or Smith because it’s on south campus. There’s a bunch of people living in James just because they couldn’t get anywhere else on south campus.”

However, some students like Seido Wells ’12 wanted to avoid the perceived south campus party atmosphere but drew into James after discovering that Kershaw was no longer available when her draw number was called.

“I wanted to avoid south campus totally,” Wells said. “That’s even how I felt once south campus was the only thing left.”

Wells believes that even though James is sub-free, the other south campus dorms will affect the dorm’s sub-free status.

“My roommates and I even thought about going to regular room draw once James was the only left,” Wells said. “Even to think that James is going to be sub-free, Cleveland is still next door. I guess I will just have to get used to the partying.”

Others decided to return to sub-free housing after hearing James would be included.

“I’ve lived on Haines first before,” said Adam Wert ’10. “I like south campus, the location and the loggia, and sort of the culture. But I like the feel of south campus generally.”
Wert doesn’t believe that a sub-free dorm located on south will cause a culture clash on campus.

“I’m sure there will be some people who are in Cleveland who will be cursing the fact that James is now sub-free, and I’m sure there are people in James who will smell smoke coming down the loggia and will get angry about that,” Wert said. “To me, in the spectrum of issues that you have to deal with living with people that’s kind of minor.”
Despite the various criticisms from the student body, Wert remains sure that the cultural values of being sub-free and south campus can co-exist with little conflict.

“I think there’s space for a lot of things that are associated with south campus culture and with sub-free culture. Especially because being sub-free doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re puritanical in all moral things,” Wert said. “It’s saying that you aren’t going to use substances in the dorms and you’re going to do things responsibly outside of the dorms.”

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