It seems the caliber of student contributing to The Greyhound has gone up dramatically this year. I frequently read the paper to keep an eye on how things are there. The following letter hits the nail on the head. (Begin Old Codger Voice) I was present at the creation of the "special interest housing" at Loyola. It started off as a good idea. The concept was to group students by certain criteria. Languages, for instance. One dorm/floor was reserved for student taking French and only French was spoken when on the floor. Great concept. It forces students to practice at all times to improve their skills. Almost immediately the whole thing spun out of control. The president of the Black Student's Association wanted housing for Black students only. Yes, they wanted to self segregate! The school flatly denied their request as it would be unconsitutional. I think they later repackaged that turd as "African Studies" housing or some such. Open to all who wanted to study African culture.

Letter: These interests aren't so special - Opinion

Letter: These interests aren't so special
Posted: 2/28/06
"Special Interest Housing" is a sham. I can hardly think of more insipid, irrelevant "special interests" than wanting a job after college (Career House) or going to the gym (Dawes House). Why should the best on-campus housing be allocated on a first-come, first-serve basis to those students opportunistic enough to realize the program is a joke?

The housing lottery may create winners and losers at random, but isn't that better than having some staff member at Student Life dole out rooms at his or her discretion? By altering the way a significant portion of the student body procures housing, Student Life has established an inequitable system of unmerited favoritism.

Residents who approach Student Life for an explanation as to why some of the premier housing on campus should be reserved for people who are not particularly special are met with a misleading stock response: If Special Interest Housing is open to everyone willing to apply, then the program does not obstruct any student from getting the best rooms.

This is plainly illogical. While it is true that the program is "open" in the sense that any one person may apply, it is a fallacy to argue that because of this, the program does not unfairly privilege some at the expense of others. Unless every undergraduate resident student is allowed to participate in the program simultaneously, some people are bound to be disadvantaged and left with slim pickings at the housing lottery.

The main attraction of Special Interest Housing is the preferential rooming treatment, and this by definition depends on keeping the number of people in the program relatively low.

Besides, if everybody is eligible anyway, what makes Special Interest Housing so special? If anything, it subverts the College's pronounced dedication to diversity by allowing students to self-select their living communities.

The more I think about it, the more the entire program smacks of Administration-sanctioned elitism.

Perhaps most distressing is how Student Life augmented the lottery system without taking advantage of an alarmingly obvious opportunity to improve the general quality of housing on campus.

If Student Life prefers a system of stacking the deck (in favor of some students, based on frivolous qualifications) why not address the biggest problem with drawing rooms purely by lot?

Specifically, why not correct the very real problem of how students who are guilty of vandalism, room damage, or other relevant violations of the community standards can secure, by chance, better housing than the upstanding members of the dorm community?

Student Life has their priorities reversed. Rather than working within the framework of an honest lottery to provide incentives for students to take care of their on-campus living areas, the department has busied itself with handing out favors to special interests which don't improve the College. Could this be any more like a real bureaucracy?


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