In a move which threatens to put the housing lottery on hold, the Student Life Committee (SLC) during its last winter term meeting tabled the theme housing approved by Senate over concerns about Gentlemen of Quality (GQ) getting a theme house.
Some committee members took issues with the conflict that would occur if GQ is approved as a local fraternity; the contract for theme housing mandates that programming is open to the entire campus, while Greek organizations carry some notion of exclusivity.
Professor of Theatre and SLC chair Elizabeth Carlin-Metz, Professor of Mathematics Dennis Schneider, Professor of Art Lynette Lombard, and Dean of Students Debbie Southern all expressed some degree of nervousness about giving GQ a theme house.
“We’ve said very clearly that the college cannot get into the business of providing houses for Greeks, and I think the faculty would be very upset by this,” Schneider said. “This is just not what we’re supposed to be about, and there’s no way that the community is not going to know that that’s a Greek house.”
Students on the committee seemed to take the stance that GQ knows what they would be getting into, and they would have to find a way to abide by the parameters of the theme housing contract should they gain local fraternity status.
Sophomore and Residential Quality of Life Committee (RESQUAL) chair Katie Wrenn noted that if GQ is to be denied on the basis of Greek status (which they do not yet have), the guidelines will have to be rewritten.
“People might know them as Greek,” Wrenn said, “but they don’t get the privileges of a Greek house. They have to abide by our rules…as long as they do what we want them to do as a special interest house, I don’t see a problem with them being Greek.”
Sophomore Michael Gasparro noted that, as a solution, they could rent out a separate space for exclusive GQ functions.
“They might have agreed to have an open house, and that might be a detriment to their ability to be a closed society, but they’ve agreed to these terms,” junior Sam Frank said. “They’ve chosen to absorb those risks and those policies…[and] the Student Senate, as the voice of the students, has approved the use of that house.”
Senate President senior Sam Claypool mentioned that if SLC were to vote down the recommendations, it would give RESQUAL time to reconsider and make another proposal to Senate before the first spring term SLC meeting.
Carlin-Metz made note that GQ both “satisfied” the RESQUAL requirements and “excelled in” the application process. But in light of the “significant alarm” at the prospect of GQ getting a theme house, she called for a vote to table the conversation until the first spring term SLC meeting, and the vote passed.
“It behooves us to examine [this] closely,” Carlin-Metz said. “It is our responsibility and obligation to do so, and to do so with rigor.”
Senate also approved Gingerbread House, Queer and Allied House (Q&A House) and Harambee for houses, and it approved Terpsichore Dance Collective, Nostalgia House, Gramma Pie, and Book Nook for block housing. Absurdist House and French House were denied theme housing status.
This was Carlin-Metz’s final meeting as SLC chair, as she will be on sabbatical during spring term. After the meeting, she described her time as chair as “productively intensive.”
“I think we’ve covered a lot of ground,” Carlin-Metz said. “I may be wrong in my perception, but it feels like an environment where dialogue is very open.”
Schneider will take her place as chair beginning in spring term.
It was also announced during the meeting that the new student lounge should be open by the first weekend in spring term.
Associate Dean of Students Craig Southern said he has not yet finished a study of the college’s social event policy, which he previously described as “archaic.” He plans to bring it before SLC during spring term.
There was also a preliminary discussion concerning the announcement that baseball practice will begin at 3 p.m. and conflict with the academic schedule.
The only other action taken during the meeting was to approve the previous meeting’s minutes.