Formal group housing decisions finalized

Kijai Corbett

The allocation of small group houses and the competition over them ended this past Tuesday after almost two weeks of deliberation.
Formal group and theme houses whose respective three- and one-year contracts expired this year had the chance to reapply to live in houses. Formal groups whose contracts didn’t expire will remain in their current houses for next year. In addition, many groups also applied to live in houses for the first time.
This year, five groups applied for formal group housing: Co-op, GLOW, Delta Tau Delta, Phi Kappa Tau and the Swing Dancers. Four other groups applied for theme houses: Computer Science Club, SMEE, French House and LU Athletics.
Two housing boards interviewed the applicants – formal group housing May 7 and theme houses May 13 – announcing the decisions shortly after to the groups and to the Lawrence community during LUCC meetings on May 11 and 16.
On a positive note, all five formal groups who applied for a house received one. Next year, Co-op will be located at 122 N. Union, currently the Computer Science House. GLOW will be living in 217 N. Union, currently general lottery. The swing dancers, Delta Tau Delta and Phi Kappa Tau will all be staying in their current locations, at 206 S. Lawe, 218 S. Lawe and 741 E. John, respectively.
Most of the formal groups seemed happy, or at least content, with the decisions made. Junior Christina Zambon, vice-president of GLOW, was pleased that GLOW received its first choice, saying, “The house is going to be a safe space for LGBTQ people, especially people who are having trouble coming to terms with their sexuality.”
Junior Joe Pfender, Co-op’s RLM for next year, commented that while the group had originally wanted the Phi Tau house, the location they received will keep their group at its current size of 11 people, the smaller house being more conducive to a community.
Freshman Jenny Halbman, a member of the swing dance club, reported that the group is excited to have been granted a three-year contract and has lots of plans for Swing House next year.
Those affected by theme house decisions were not so happy. Of the four groups who applied for theme houses, only one request was granted. The Computer Science Club will be moving into 738 E. John next year, currently the YUAI house.
Those groups not granted a house had the opportunity to voice their concerns. Members of both SMEE and LU Athletics attended the LUCC meeting last Tuesday to protest the decisions.
At the meeting, SMEE argued that the purpose of their group as “a place for musical and artistic expression to arise naturally” would not be possible without a house. LU Athletics said that the group wanted to “bridge the gap between [students involved in] athletics and the conservatory” and that the recommendation of the board – to take another year to more fully develop their theme – would be difficult without a house in which to bring people together.
The housing board responded that while impressed by all four groups, there just weren’t enough houses for everyone. Junior Gabby Szteinberg, head of the Residence Life Committee, said the decisions came down to two questions: “Who needed a house the most? And who had the most well-developed theme?”
Szteinberg stated that the board felt that the Computer Science Club met both these requirements. She also noted that they originally selected French House as well, but since the two groups had applied for the same house, Computer Science was given priority.
After that decision, the board reported that they did not have “a strong majority in favor of any of the remaining groups,” and so granted neither SMEE nor LU Athletics a theme house.
Despite the arguments made against these decisions, LUCC concluded that the board had done well on a difficult job and the decisions were approved.
With the five formal group houses and one theme house chosen, there will be two houses open for general lottery next year: 203 N. Union, currently the SMEE house, and 128 N. Union, which is already general lottery. Students who still wish to live in a small community will have the opportunity to select from these remaining choices.