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Editorial: Res Life, the Department that Doesn’t

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Photo Courtesy of Glavé & Holmes Architecture

Take a moment to think about your residential experi- ence at our esteemed institution. Roanoke College is a big believer in the “four year residential ex- perience,” or so the authorities would have us believe. Raise your hands if you think that is the case. Anyone? Didn’t think so.

There are many who have been here long enough to recall the dark ages of Res Life which are in the not too distant past. A time where the office was plagued by a revolving door of staff and the students never truly knew who worked there. The consequences of that, un- surprisingly, were felt by those same students.

There have absolutely been improvements. And no one is claiming that managing an odd 1,500 obnoxious 20 year olds is an easy task. Of course it isn’t. If there is anything this paper is sure of it is that, collectively, we are the worst.

Nevertheless, ResLife, there are a few simple ways with which to not be the absolute worst. If you were to take a poll of any sample of Roanoke College stu- dents you would quickly find a number of different stories about, let’s call, negative expe- riences.

Many grievances are small. Over the past couple weeks Sections has been a veritable sauna due to a combination of unseasonably warm weather and Sections itself being a veritable sauna. Staff from Res Life did take time to reach out to sections residents, however, and inform them that the problem was largely due to the age of the building and switching the centralized heating and cooling systems re- quires a couple of days to “switch over” and it’s probably going to be cold soon again anyway (2016 was just found to be the hottest year on record, however, so don’t hold your breath on that one kiddies.) Meanwhile every Sections resident who has to take more than a few cold showers every week is dying a bit inside. Do not fret though as there is a crack plan in the works to save us: opening windows and buy- ing thirteen dollar fans at the Walmart (what a deal, right?)

Last year there was the de- bacle of what many (we assume) are referring to as the mass exodus of the Living Learning Communities. Many active and thriving communities were ei- ther disbanded or moved (or disbanded by being moved) at the end of last year and suffice to say a lot of folks are still a little fresh about it.

Take for example Catawba. Traditionally the home of our international students, at the end of last year the community was moved to Chalmers. Incidentally also located in Chalmers is the Multicultural themed housing.

According to the numbers, itisnotonthefaceofittrue that there is an overly disproportionate allocation of non-white students in Chalmers now or in the past. But now all of our diversity dedicated housing is located in one place which is a great look for the oh so super diverse Roanoke College.

Take another example, Au- gusta Hall. Arguably one of the most successful LLCs and wildly popular among its residents was shut down at the end of last year. This was due, ostensibly, to a mysterious contract that the college is apparently bound by to offer living space to students from foreign countries coming to the college with the goal of learning English….. that never came. But wait, you may claim, the Social Justice LLC was offered a spot in Smith! Let’s just take a moment to make clear that if you are of the opinion that Smith is in any way equitable or better than Augusta, you are also probably the same kind of person who tells Sections residents to suck it up while living in New Hall.

The Brackety-Ack will of- fer a reward to anyone who will testify to seeing a single soul oc- cupying Augusta last year other than spooky ones that ran the (admittedly cool) haunted house; which, by the way, was clearly the only location on campus that could have possibly hosted such an event. And now, stay tuned sports fans, Augusta is rumored to be on the move to of ce space; while the once proud Social Justice LLC remains homeless.

But past all of that, and this is the main point, there is a consistent pattern of decisions made that are sugarcoated and sold as something that they are entirely not. Its ok if residen- tial living is one of your main sources of income, Roanoke. But don’t tell us when you are denying off-campus applications that it’s because you are believ- ers in the “four year residential experience” while also at the same time packing students in to study rooms.