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In Response to the Elimination of Off Campus Housing

Quinn Casey '18, Guest Writer

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I would like to note that the views contained in this piece are my own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Delta Sigma Phi Theta Lambda chapter, brothers of the chapter, or the national organization.   

As much as the administration and Dean Bylander may not understand or accept the consequences that eliminating off campus housing will have on the college, I truly hope that the overwhelmingly negative reaction to this news at least gives them a moment of pause.  Why are Dickinson students, the pride of our admissions office, so unanimously up in arms about this change?  Why was the laughably censored and passive aggressive response of the school at Tuesday night’s Senate meeting met with such hostility?  These are questions I can only hope that Dean Bylander and her colleagues are considering, but unfortunately, I have been here long enough to know that they are not.  Ultimately, the student response to this decision is irrelevant.  The farce of an “open dialogue” at the Senate meeting was just the school checking a box so it can claim it listened to student feedback.  Our opinions and true feelings are a clear second to the increased revenue that the school will see from forcing everyone to live on campus.  While we, the current students of Dickinson, may not have any ability to change this decision, there is a group who does: future students.

Since the beginning of my time here at Dickinson, I have been enamored by the college and the experiences I’ve had.  I’ve worn my Dickinson apparel with pride, and I am honored to be the third in my family to attend this college.  I have defended the school and most of its policies vigorously, yet this decision I refuse to accept.  This is the first and only time that I have felt it necessary to advise future students interested in Dickinson to look elsewhere.  Why ever would I tell a fellow Pennsylvania resident, for example, to attend an increasingly expensive school that is rapidly declining in the national rankings, and offers only censored and sanitized “social” life.  Go to Penn State.  There you can get a top fifty-ranked education for half the price and you can have fun on the weekends.  Yes, your Spanish class may have twenty people in it rather than ten, but at least you won’t have to be looking over your shoulder for a DPS car every second of your Friday night.  At least you and everyone you know won’t go through the conduct system multiple times a semester for trying to have ten people in your dorm room to reclaim the faintest hint of what a college social life is supposed to be like.  The fact that nearly a quarter of college seniors will be relegated to dorms is insulting.  If we are truly young adults as the college claims, let us learn for ourselves how to manage rent and find a property.  Let us learn to budget for food expenses and pay for cable.  Let us learn how to socialize safely when our names are on the lease.  If you want us to graduate as well rounded and worldly adults, give us the opportunity to live like them.

Off campus housing plays an integral role in the social life of the college.  It allows students, who have spent their entire week in the library living under the immense stress of a rigorous college curriculum, at least one night away from the campus, one night away from class and work.  Certainly, the argument that eliminating off campus housing will prevent us from partying (which, I would like to note, is one argument among many) is an invalid one to the administration, as we did not come here to party, we came here to learn, right?  Well, if we want to keep pretending that most students don’t party as a necessary outlet for stress (just like our parents, professors, and administrators did when they were in college) that is fine, but be prepared to face the consequences.  When the already embarrassing retention rate keeps dropping, when students transfer to better ranked, less policed schools, when students snap because they have no outlet for their stress, at least the school will have some extra cash to justify overlooking the fact that its students are furious and suffering.  We never voted for the new dorm to be built.  We never were asked if we wanted to keep off campus housing.  We never agreed to any of these changes, yet we certainly paid for them.  As a senior, I don’t have to deal with this decision.  But to the underclassmen who do: I am truly sorry that you will not be able to have the same great experiences that my class had, and I hope that you never forget the injustice that has been done to you all.  The lack of touch that the college has with its students is reaching astonishing levels, and you should be angry and stay angry until meaningful change is brought about.

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1 Comment

One Response to “In Response to the Elimination of Off Campus Housing”

  1. Amanda Reny on December 1st, 2017 12:20 pm

    Some of my best memories from college includes living off campus. It was a great transition from dorm life into the real world. My roommates and I were able to master normal life skills such as dealing with gas companies, cooking on a daily basis, and maintaining a home before we were thrust into the real world. It is a mistake to remove the off campus housing option for seniors.

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The student news site of Dickinson College.
In Response to the Elimination of Off Campus Housing