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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Sub-free housing expands to James

Jamaland, the south campus cluster consisting of James, Cleveland and Main residence halls, is largely known for its cigarette-burned furniture, all-night dance parties and pungent musk. But next year, Jamaland will be home to something else—substance-free housing.
After growing requests for sub-free housing began to outpace supply, the Residence Life Committee has decided to introduce James Residence hall as a substance-free housing option for students beginning in the 2009-2010 academic year.
“Over the past two or three years there’s been a steady increase in demand for substance-free housing,” said Residence Life Committee member P.J. Mahaffey ’11. “Last year they had enough overflow in people that applied to be sub-free that they created clusters that could fit into a whole other dorm.”
Currently, substance-free “clusters” exist all over campus on various floors, and consist of substance-free students, as well as students that drew into their floors unaware until the beginning of first semester that they were actually substance-free.
“They are intermixed with different people, upper classmen who had no idea that they were going to become sub-free,” Dean of Students Travis Greene said. “In essence, they technically weren’t—we just asked people to try and honor it.”
Now, with the addition of James as a sub-free dorm, these clusters will be eliminated, creating one substance-free dorm on each campus, which was a goal of the Committee, according to Mahaffey.
“[The Residence Life Committee] thinks it’s a good idea because it gives sub-free kids a choice to live on each [part of] campus because right now they can only live on East or North,” Mahaffey said. “There’s such a demand for sub-free, at least there has been the past couple years, that they think that it’s a good idea to have it on South.”
Though students have raised concerns, questioning whether the South Campus culture is a conducive environment to substance-free living, the Residence Life Committee feels that the choice of James, as opposed to Cleveland or Main, will make the transition less harrowing than students imagine.
“We got feedback that was like, ‘Why would you ever try and make Cleveland substance-free given the history and the culture.’ We heard that but we knew there needed to be more substance-free housing on campus,” Greene said. “We knew that we wanted to explore South Campus and I think that James seems like a nice compromise and a good middle ground.”
James first SA and two-year James resident Adam Lange ’11 said that while he is sad that James will become sub-free, he is also curious about how the location will function.
“It will be interesting, particularly because South Campus has its stereotype for being a little more rowdy at times than some other parts of campus,” Lange said.
“I’m just so interested to see how the rest of campus affects a sub-free James being next door to Cleveland, being next door to Gardner, having parties and concerts and things like that.”

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