Winter break housing

Jessica Newsome

In the current economic environment, many institutions are attempting to trim their budgets, mainly through cutting programs and freezing or lowering wages, and understandably so. I am an employee at a local domestic violence shelter, Harbor House DAP, and I am seeing the consequences of the economy at every turn. Donations are coming in less frequently, while the shelter has been over capacity nearly every day in 2009.
While I understand the issues that are forcing Lawrence University, and the board of trustees, to consider what savings can be made, I do not agree with the way they have made these decisions – specifically the decision not to allow students to stay on campus over winter break.
I am an independent student who works full-time in Appleton during the school year, and winter break is the time of year for me to live on campus and work as many hours as I can get, so that I can save money and not have to work as much during winter and spring terms. Due to the decisions made regarding winter break housing, I will have to move my things out of my room into another dorm and pay for the pleasure.
I am not the only student who has to deal with the winter break housing issues – international students and winter athletes also face changes to the normal housing arrangements, changes that are inconvenient at best and inhibiting at worst.
I understand the need for tightening the budget, but I wish that the trustees, when making decisions regarding certain issues, had considered the people who will be most affected by such decisions. The amount of money saved by moving everyone around is minimal, and perhaps could have been saved in another way.
The board of trustees needs to remember that Lawrence is a university that prides itself on taking care of its students, and that taking such care should not be sacrificed for the sake of the budget.
Lawrence students are known not only for creativity, but also for caring deeply about preserving certain aspects of Lawrentian life. Perhaps the next time the board has to make difficult decisions that will affect many Lawrence students and faculty, the board could ask those same students and faculty for suggestions about how to save money without hindering certain aspects of student life.