Formal Group Housing and theme house decisions made

Radhika Garland

This past week, the Lawrence University Community Council and the Formal Group Housing Committee came to a final decision concerning housing allocations for student groups.
The three Formal Group Houses up for renewal this year were Greenfire, the Outdoor Recreation Club, and Beta Theta Pi. All of these groups were accepted based upon goals accomplished in the past three years and the relative lack of competition.
The process for theme housing, however, was more complicated. Three student groups applied for housing, and only two houses were available.
The French Club, which operated under new leadership this year and boasts a growing number of members, was denied a theme house for the next school year. They were overlooked in favor of SoundBoard and the Computer Science Club, based upon recommendations from the Theme House Committee.
The Theme House Committee’s nine members chose these two groups based upon how they met committee requirements.
The first of these requirements is that the shared living space will clearly benefit the Lawrence community. The second requirement is that the theme house’s goals will be magnified as much as possible.
The Theme House Committee is made up entirely of students. Three are from LUCC, three from Residence Life, and three are “at large” members, or students who are not affiliated with either of the other two groups.
A glitch in this selection system occurred when Amy Uecke, Associate Dean of Students for Residence Life, discovered that one student on the board was not in fact “at large,” but a member of SoundBoard and therefore not qualified to vote.
This student was not penalized for making an unconscious mistake, and the student’s vote did not have an effect on its outcome.
In the original decision process, the French Club was given 12 votes, the Computer Science House given 24, and Soundboard given 16. After the disqualification, the French Club had 11 votes, Computer Science had 21, and Soundboard received 16.
Seeing an opportunity to contest these results based upon the earlier error, the French Club sent a representative to the Tues., May 15 LUCC meeting, where the final theme housing selections were made.
Instead of contesting the Theme House Committee’s judgment, the French Club representative asked for a new casting of the ballot, although it had been proven that a recasting of the ballot would not affect the outcome.
The French Club did not request that an additional member be added to the deciding committee nor prepare an argument that refuted the Theme House Committee decision.
Without a clear reason to disapprove the Theme House Committee decision, LUCC discussed if it was valid to recast the ballot. Their only option, presented by Paul Shrode, Associate Dean of Students for Activities, was through “completely recasting the ballot, with complete participation.”
Since this was not deemed necessary by the LUCC, and as Amy Uecke said, “the LUCC seems to respect the decisions of its committees,” the French Club’s request was denied.
Theme Housing is reviewed on a yearly basis, so the French Club or any other student group not necessarily recognized by the LUCC will have another opportunity to apply next year.