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Senator runs into housing troubles

By Max Calenberg

After representing Jamaland for a semester, Chris Dorman ’12 came back from Winter Break to find himself without a roommate, and a few weeks later with his senatorship in jeopardy.
Dorman moved to Cowles after Dorman learned over Winter Break his roommate would not be returning for the spring 2010 semester.

“Housing talked to me about a week into school,” Dorman said. “They gave me the list of different roommates that I would potentially have to be consolidated with at some point in time.”

Eventually, Dorman found a possible opening in a Cowles quad though he planned to run as a Jamaland senator considering he had already served one term in that position and his living situation was not finalized. Dorman won his senatorial race as a seat representative.

“During the week of elections, I [found] out from Housing that they were going to send me over to Cowles,” Dorman said. “They gave me a key, so I started moving my stuff over, at which point I was pulled in to talk to by a couple members of SGA.”

SGA President Harry Krejsa ’10 and Administrative Coordinator Ethan Struby ’10 told Dorman he could not remain a senator for Jamaland if he moved to Cowles Hall.

“He would have either had to step down or I guess, barring that, we could have impeached him, but…that wouldn’t have made any sense,” Struby said. “The constitution says you have be living [in the cluster you represent], so he would have stepped down and we would have held a new election.”

Dorman responded by going to housing in order to explain his predicament and explore his options. Before the elections, housing had insisted that he consolidate with another student, however afterwards, Dorman was informed that he would lose his Senate seat if he moved from the Jamaland cluster.

“I could tell when I visited with Chris, that that was something he was really passionate about, was being a senator,” said Laura Gogg, Technical Assistant for Student Affairs. “My goal was then to say, ‘How can we make this work so he can remain a senator, free up a room for us and of course stay somewhere else he would be comfortable with inside Jamaland?’”

The result was a compromise that eliminated the conflict for all involved.
“After some negotiations between housing, SGA and myself, we were able to secure [a location] where there happened to be a girl moving out across the hall from me where I would end up just taking her room,” Dorman said.

His senate position enabled Chris to avoid consolidation, a policy that requires all first- and second-year students to have a roommate. Dorman doesn’t believe this rule is necessary for one who has been at the College for more than year.

“I would like to better understand why consolidation happens,” Dorman said. “In part, as maybe a first year I see why [housing] want[s] you to have a roommate. It’s hard for me to believe that a second-year second-semester student really needs to have a roommate.”

The policy, according to Gogg, is less about a student support system. Rather, it is concerned with the fact that there are half-full rooms on campus and the consolidation policy helps open extra space that may be needed in unexpected circumstances.

“The consolidation process exists because we need to have vacant room. For instance, last fall [rooms] were full,” Gogg said. “As we had outbreaks of the flu…there is isolation needed…or [perhaps] two roommates have a fight, blow up and need to be separated. So you can imagine there are many reasons why we need to have vacant rooms on campus for emergency housing reasons.”

Dorman doesn’t want to just move from this ordeal, but instead use his senate position to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again.

“I’d like to… change the policy,” Dorman said. “If not, at least start to address it so people can starting talking about it, and why we do it.”

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