Staff Editorial    March 24, 1998

Give older students space

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The Division of Residential Programs and Services needs to retain halls residents, but its plan to assign students under the age of 21 rooms in Eigenmann Hall ignores the needs of IUšs older students.

In its continuing effort to keep the residence halls alive at IU, the DRPS is planning to open Eigenmann to undergraduates who are not yet 21 years old. While the DRPS cites increased freshman enrollment and a shortage of undergraduate housing as reasons for the change, it continues to overlook the needs of the significant population of graduate and over-21 undergraduates who choose to remain in the residence hall system past their freshman year.

Graduate students are culturally very different from freshmen. They are a distinct society. Most Eigenmann residents have been students at IU, or at another university, for several years already. They are well-accustomed to university life and dorm living , and in general they have a higher inclination toward scholarship and quiet study. Many graduate students who live in Eigenmann are associate instructors who teach undergraduate classes. Some embittered Eigenmann residents are talking about not returning to the residence halls at all because they feel their culture is being flushed out. The DRPS needs to pay attention to these cultural differences to retain this over-21 resident population.

If Eigenmann is opened to residents under 21, the only remaining single 21-and-over housing will be Ashton Center-Weatherly. While Weatherlyšs culture is just right for many over-21 residents, it simply is not big enough to accommodate all the over-21 stu dents who wish to remain in residence. Without a large enough graduate house, the DRPS will simply lose a large portion of this distinct society. Not only will this deal a severe blow to an important part of IUšs culture, but it poses a significant financ ial threat to the economically challenged DRPS.

Two possible solutions present themselves to preserve the culture of a graduate dorm while freeing up space for the masses of new freshman residents. Either the DRPS can persuade the residents of Weatherly to join the other over-21 students in Eigenmann, or the DRPS can allow undergraduates to move into one tower of Willkie Quad while construction continues on the second tower. By being sensitive to the needs of the distinct society of over-21 students in residence, the DRPS might succeed in retaining its tenants. Continuing to ignore these residents will show them how little the DRPS values them as customers.

Š1998 Indiana Daily Student