Twenty female residents on Claver 4 are angry over a recent decision by the office of residence life and housing to relocate them by Nov. 25 because of a “male housing crunch.”

According to a Nov. 12 letter sent to the affected students by Laura Cantrell, the associate director of residence life, “the university finds that there is a need to change a female wing to a male wing in Claver. I understand that relocating residents causes much stress. Please also understand that the university must consolidate the open spaces. I know this is quite a shock and do appreciate your cooperation to make this a fast process and move on with the semester.”

One of the students selected to move didn’t like the tone of the letter.

“Not only do they give us 12 days to move, but they notified us by slipping this letter under our door at 11:00 at night!” Lindsay Mulvihill, ’05 said, exasperated. “I understand that the university has to consolidate rooms, but to give us less than two weeks with Thanksgiving and finals to move, and then tell us to ‘move on with the semester’ is heartless. I don’t understand why the university didn’t wait until the end of the semester to do this; I have to work, I have to study for finals, now I have to move. How can the university expect me to excel when I have to do all of this at once?”

When asked why this relocation wasn’t held off until the end of the semester, Cantrell said, “It should have been done a month ago. We don’t usually do this but there were 28 open spaces. We would consolidate regardless. Of course, living by yourself in a suite is great for the student, but bad for the university. Why couldn’t we wait? Well, we have men in really bad situations which could threaten their academic well-being, and we want to move them so that they can be happy and be able to study for finals. It’s clearly not a win/win situation.”

Where is the university justified in making one group of students unhappy in order to satisfy another unhappy group of students?

According to the Resident Agreement (found in the Student Handbook), the university “reserves the right to assign students to open spaces without prior notification,” and “reserves the right to reassign students in order to consolidate vacant spaces.”

Despite what the resident agreement says, Mulvihill, Sioban O’Leary, ’05, and Susan Madison, ’05, as well as other residents of the floor, are outraged. “I don’t see where the university has the right to make 20 girls suffer in order to satisfy… guys,” Madison said while sitting in her room, which showed no signs of being packed up. “Why can’t they just deal? I understand that maybe some of them are having problems, but everyone does.”

“What are they gonna do if we decide that we aren’t moving until the end of the semester?” Mulvihill added, “I asked someone what they would do, and that person only said that ‘the university would have to take action’. What are they gonna do to me? I’m a paying student, I haven’t done anything wrong. They can’t throw my stuff out the window, I don’t feel threatened.”

“Maybe I would be a little more cooperative if they would compensate us for the hassle,” said Mulvihill. “I wouldn’t care what it was-maybe a better housing lottery number because mine sucks, but even if it were only 20 Stagbucks- at least I would know they care just a tiny bit!”

Cantrell said that the university has never compensated students for being forced to move. While it is true that she has never had to relocate entire wings during her two years at Fairfield, she has done it at other schools.

“We provide boxes and dollies to help the students move,” said Cantrell. “We would love to compensate them, but it’s unnecessary since the university reserves the right to move them, and the students acknowledged that when they signed the housing forms. Trust me, this is not what I want, but we just want to try to make everyone happy.”

Some students think that co-ed dorms are the answer.

“I live by myself right now, and I don’t mind having to move in with someone else because I’ve been expecting it, but I want to talk to them, you know? To find out if we can live together and be happy, because if I’m not happy I’ll just have to move again,” said Mulvihill. “The university isn’t giving us enough time to find a new home. We shouldn’t have to move anyway. We live in suites, so why can’t there be two male suites in this hall to fill the eight empty spaces? It’s not like we would have to share a bathroom with them, we could keep to ourselves, so what’s the problem?”

Tara Casey, ’06, shares Mulvihill’s sentiment. “You know what the answer to housing’s woes is? Co-ed dorms!”

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