Letter to the Editor

(Brent Schwert)

We thought it was hot as hell when Skyler Silvertrust chair-danced at not one but two SoundBoards this year. However, we didn’t think it was fly enough to warrant giving him his own real estate, property he could then fill with people who until this moment had nothing to do with SoundBoard.
SoundBoard is a great Lawrence event that we both enjoy. However, where Lawrentians live, what our options are, and who gets to take advantage of those options are all issues that trump SoundBoard’s popularity. Or at least they should.
SoundBoard house is the product of poor judgment by a small group of our peers. Once again, a housing upset has caused some muttering and shaking of fists on campus as people ask themselves, “How are they a house?” While we leave to another editorialist the inherent flaws in a system that cannot correct its mistakes, we still have to marvel at how such lapses in judgment occur at all.
SoundBoard does not need a house. Even now, people must wrack their brains to come up with more than two people who are responsible for our favorite weekly concerts. SoundBoard is receiving a small house for certain, only seven spots, but even with a tiny amount of space to fill, four of the seven were not affiliated with SoundBoard until SoundBoard offered an alternative to sophomore lottery numbers. If your organization in total can only fill half of a seven-person house, you don’t need a house.
In addition, the French Club, or any other potential applicant, was at a disadvantage before the selection process began due the committee’s continued commitment to general housing over those organizations that are willing to put in the work for a house of their own. General housing is a bad idea.
There is tension in houses every year due to the inherent risk of not knowing your housemates on selection day. Such tensions can occur in dorm hallways as well, but there is no denying that the close quarters and the nature of house life amplify all the problems of dorm life.
Besides the fact that general housing is a bad idea, the general housing option eats up space that could otherwise go towards a theme house. If LUCC places such a premium on the houses around campus that they make groups not only justify their need to inhabit them, but compete for the space, why devote an entire house to those few who gamble on the general house’s historically unfulfilled promises?
Whatever SoundBoard can do with the house, the French Club clearly has that same potential for outreach to Lawrence as a whole. The French do know how to party, and crˆpes? We salivate at the very thought. At the same time French club, unlike SoundBoard, could have clearly filled the house with actual French Club members, and done something great for the French students on campus.
At a school where all of us are required to pass a 200-level language course, there is an academic as well as a social justification for a house full of potential French tutors and immersion with fluent speakers.
However, at its core, this editorial is not about the merits of a French House versus those of SoundBoard. This article is about how popularity trumps fairness and practicality in a way reminiscent of prom queen elections.
This could be the result of an ingrained adverse feeling towards all things French buried in our cultural subconscious, or maybe SoundBoard just had an in with the committee (once again, fuel for another editorialist’s fires). Whatever the reason, and however fun the SoundBoard house could turn out to be, something about these decisions – at least in the last two years – has left a sour taste in the mouths of many.
While we look forward to partying in the SoundBoard house next year – that is, if Skyler isn’t still bitter about this article – we maintain that the theme housing decisions are flawed and need some serious reconsideration. At this rate, the two of us could easily occupy an unjustified house of our own before we graduate. Keep an eye out for Travis and Jem’s LUNGE (Lawrence University No Good Ensemble) House or the Fight Club House (that we can’t talk about) for the 2008-2009 school year.Travis Fondow
Jem Herron