Letter to the Editor

(Brent Schwert)

We were surprised to learn that Lawrence Swing Dancing will retain their large house in the quad throughout our Lawrence careers. Let us first make clear that we have no quarrel with swing dancers or swing dancing. However, we feel the circumstances surrounding the Swing House do not warrant a contract for such prime real estate for the following reasons.
Most of their events take place in other locations around campus. They hold three weekly dances, only one of which occurs in their house. According to their presidents, they have had two large events open to the public.
Know what they were? Yeah, neither did we; we had to look them up. They were Swing Weekend in Riverview and Spookeasy in Lucy’s, and they were sparsely attended. Their other events are for the few dancers who seek to improve with workshops off campus.
We have met no one outside the swing house who has reacted to the successful contract bid with anything but the utmost distaste. So little interest was there in anything that happened in the house that a mass e-mail had to be sent to students begging them to live there.
According to the LSD presidents, there are about 70 “active” members, yet they could not scrounge enough interest to fill the house they claim they need. This speaks of motives not centered around providing a service to Lawrence, but rather on the current inhabitants keeping their cool house at all costs.
Furthermore, according to a current swing dance resident speaking on a condition of anonymity, only 25 percent of the house’s occupants swing dance. Many are there because they had low lottery numbers, and not one officer of LSD lives in the house.
Taking in some nonmembers to fill space is a time-honored tradition, but this is comparable to five fraternity brothers filling a house because they found 20 friends to live with them. Can you imagine a fraternity keeping its house if only a quarter of it was occupied by fraternity members?
It’s not hard to figure out. This house is a sham. It should just be called sham house, or opened up as general housing. Or even better, it should have been opened up to an organization that would actually use it, and use it properly.
We do not expect this editorial to undo the housing board’s decision, but we could only listen to so many exclamations of “How are they a house?” before asking the question ourselves and trying, in vain, to find a good answer.Travis Fondow
Jem Herron