Housing shuffle begins

Kayla Wilson

The time for housing selection is upon us, and students hoping to live in formal group housing or theme houses are preparing for a potential shuffle. As group housing contracts are expiring, current residents have started competing with new hopeful residents in applying for their various houses.
The formal group housing debate is currently focused on groups whose contracts are expiring this year, mainly Phi Kappa Tau and Co-op. Formal groups enter into three-year housing contracts, which are done on rotating schedules and are subject to interim reviews.
These groups are required to apply for their houses, showing both that they have the need for such housing and their commitment to Lawrence’s mission statement. With the expiration of each contract, existing groups are required to apply the same as any new group.
Students wishing to live in theme houses are also trying to attain residences. This can also potentially create a housing shuffle, as groups are allowed to apply for any house with an expired contract. Limitations are imposed, however, as the houses must be filled to capacity all three terms with alternates in case of emergency.
This rule is part of the updated housing system and is the reason Phi Tau moved in 2002 from 206 E. Lawe St., the residence they had occupied since its construction in 1941. Unable to fill all the beds, the fraternity moved to their current location of 741 E. John. LU Swing Dancing now occupies the former Phi Tau house on Lawe Street.
Now that their contract has expired, the Phi Taus want their original house back. Many members feel very strongly about their ties to 206 E. Lawe. As senior DJ Hein said, “It’s our house.”
This may not happen for the Phi Taus, as their numbers may not be high enough, or another group-applying for either formal or theme housing-may have a better application. In addition, the swing club is applying for formal group status and a three-year contract. As they wish to stay in their current location, this could also cause problems for Phi Tau.
One group in particular would most likely be pleased if Phi Tau reclaimed their old stomping ground. With their current house in jeopardy, Co-op now wishes to occupy 741 E. John next year.
This move is “not based on desire but the need to relocate once the university tears down Hulbert House,” says Co-op resident Rachel Long. Iterates the senior, “All of us would love to remain in our current location.” She says the group has chosen 741 E. John because they feel it meets their cooking needs, though they have also applied for 122 N. Union and 128 N. Union.
Greenfire, which currently resides in Sabin House, is looking to become a co-op organization as well. Both Co-op and Greenfire did some member shuffling over the weekend, leaving the groups scrambling to fill beds.
Included in the housing requests are GLOW’s interest in 738 E. John, where Yuai is currently housed. Yuai, however, will not be living in formal group housing this coming year as they were unable to maintain occupancy. “Many of our members had obligations to fraternities or were studying abroad, and unfortunately we could not maintain occupancy for all three terms,” said junior Susan Galasso. “We do hope to reapply for a house sometime in the future, even though next year isn’t possible.”
While it will be interesting to see where each group is placed and what new houses will be established, it is important for students to realize that previous existence in a house is no guarantee of continuing existence or preferential treatment. All decisions are made by the various housing boards and are based on quality of applications. No group may lay claim to a house just because they have lived there in the past. Students may, however, call upon their history in hopes of persuading the formal group housing selection and review board.