At their annual meeting on October 19, 2001, members of the Board of Trustees took three actions to advance the college's plans for enhancing residential life at Lawrence.
First, the Board authorized the college to proceed with the design and construction of a new residence hall, to be located on the west end of campus near Ormsby Hall. It is anticipated that this new, 179-bed residence hall will be completed in time for the opening of the 2003-2004 academic year.
Second, the Board selected what has been called the Quad-River site as the location for the proposed campus center and authorized the administration to proceed with design work on that facility. The site, which was selected based on the advice of the college's campus planning consultants from Sasaki Associates of Massachusetts, runs parallel to Lawe Street, from about East Alton Street to the riverfront. The decision was made after an exhaustive study and review of all possible options for the siting of the approximately 125,000 square-foot building.
Other sites that were fully considered but rejected for many construction and other practical reasons were the current Memorial Union site, an extension to Downer Commons, and the entire quadrangle area. The Quad-River site will necessitate taking down two residence halls (occupied by Phi Kappa Tau and Delta Tau Delta) on the quad, plus Hulbert House on the south side of John Street. The campus center will combine and enhance the amenities and services presently located in both Memorial Union and Downer Commons and is intended to be, by design, a true campus center, one that will serve as the centerpiece for residential life at Lawrence in years to come. The construction of this facility is years in the future, though planning for it will commence soon.
Third, the Board instructed the administration to investigate possible sites and designs for additional smaller residential facilities, most likely to be situated on the east end of campus.
Adoption of a New Formal Group Housing Policy
In its consideration of residential life issues, the Board has steadfastly maintained that the college must ensure that its polices and actions in the area of residential life are fair and equitable in the treatment of every Lawrence student and that no single group of students should have benefits and privileges that are not similarly made available to all.
Consequently, in January 2000, the Board endorsed as a fundamental principle of residential life that no student group or organization should have permanent claim to occupancy in any unit of college-owned housing, including the residence halls currently occupied by the fraternities. The Board also charged the administration with developing a new process of allocating college residences for groups of students that have a shared mission and organizational structure and wish to live together on campus.
A planning committee of students, faculty, and staff whose membership was suggested by the President's staff and approved by the President of LUCC was convened to develop a clear set of procedures and criteria for the equitable and efficient allocation of formal group housing; establish an appropriate code of conduct for groups occupying such housing; and create a formal group housing review board, composed of students, faculty, and staff, that would be responsible for carrying out the procedures for allocating group housing.
The proposed plan of the Formal Group Housing Planning Committee was approved and implementation is proceeding, with the first assignments becoming effective at the start of the 2002-2003 academic year. Lawrence currently has 17 residential units that can be made available to qualifying groups--six on the quadrangle and eleven elsewhere on campus.
All qualified student groups at Lawrence will have an equal opportunity to enjoy the benefits of smaller group living arrangements. No single student group will be unduly advantaged or disadvantaged, and all student groups, including Greek letter social societies, who meet basic expectations as to their ability to organize for and exercise the responsibilities associated with such living arrangements will be able to apply to participate in this form of residential life.