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Excessive Oversight has Ruined The Dickinson College Experience

Liza Bucchin ’19, Guest Writer

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As a junior coming back from abroad, I am entirely unenthusiastic to return to campus. Retention rates are dropping, tuition is rising, and several organizations I love and support are being removed from campus. It is clear that social life at Dickinson College is at a decline. The recent administrative decision to eliminate off campus housing for the 2018-2019 school year is detrimental to student life. Recent months have proved there is an obvious dichotomy between the student body and administration as they have demonstrated a lack of understanding of the needs of students. Emails sent to students say the new policy is “sought to reconnect seniors – especially those who have been abroad – to the campus community” and “become a meaningful social space”. It is obvious that administration neglected to incorporate the student body in any of this decision making as the majority of campus would agree this policy would accomplish just the opposite. A post I made in my class Facebook group highlighting my concerns for the policy has received 165 likes in 2 hours – the most unified post of our class to date. I and many others believe that 20+ year olds should be able to make their own decisions regarding where we live and eat. Where is the trust and the teaching of autonomy? This deprives seniors of the experience of living on their own before entering the real world. The most appalling part is the financial hypocrisy – for a supposedly socially progressive institution, administration should recognize that living off campus is drastically cheaper for housing and food. This policy will put an unfair strain on those already suffering from a rise in tuition. This is an elitist and exclusive change.

Personally, when applying to Dickinson, not being able to live off campus until senior year was already a drawback – its elimination entirely might have swayed my decision otherwise. As many of us are studying abroad this year learning new languages, navigating foreign transportation systems, and engaging with new culture it just seems ridiculous to not have this simple freedom at our home institution as we are capable of so much more responsibility.

Additionally, if we are paying $13,236 for tuition, shouldn’t priority be to eliminate forced triples in outdated freshman dorms? We are quickly becoming one of the most expensive schools in the nation. Talking to many of my friends, the general sentiment is that students are discouraged by the dim future of social atmosphere. Students in tour guides and Tritons have admitted that they are thinking of no longer volunteering for these positions as they are unsure if they would want to recommend Dickinson College to future generations due to this constriction of student life. As if things couldn’t get worse, administration notified the student body of the “housing forum” a mere few hours before the event with only vague descriptions about the reality of the new system in the email – students had to ask to get a straight answer if all off campus was eliminated. With a huge percentage of the student body missing due to abroad, unclear phrasing, and incredibly late notice this is just another sign that administration does not put the thoughts and needs of the student body at the fore front of decision making. As a passionate environmentalist, hardworking student, and contributor to the Dickinson College community I feel as if my efforts towards brightening campus life over the past 3 years are being punished. Where will the future incentive be to give back to our community if no reward, recognition, or respect is given to students? Upon accepting my offer to attend to Dickinson College I was promised a liberal and experiential education that would be supported by administration and faculty, and so far have been utterly disappointed. Dickinson is hindering the experiences of bright minded positive sources to the universe such as my beautiful fellow classmates. A school with limitless potential is quickly becoming a shame through the destruction of social life – an essential part of college and individual growth.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Excessive Oversight has Ruined The Dickinson College Experience”

  1. Richard Chute on December 1st, 2017 7:09 pm

    Well said. I totally agree with you. As a pRent of a current senior who could have been in rent free housing two years ago, I disagree with the policy the administration has barring off campus housing. The tiny overheated freshman triple was not the housing situation we envisioned when we brought him to campus that August day in 2014.

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Excessive Oversight has Ruined The Dickinson College Experience