The committee that oversees Pomona College’s residence hall policies has decided to change the procedure for housing students who sign substance-free contracts. Members of the committee said that students used the contracts, which stiffen the penalties for drug and alcohol use in certain halls, to manipulate the housing system.
The Residence Hall Committee, an ASPC committee that includes the elected North and South Campus Representatives and four members of Residence Hall staff, voted to eliminate a separate substance-free pool to avoid this problem. Now, sub-free halls for next year will be determined based on the numbers that students wishing to live sub-free get in the regular room draw pool.
“The basic idea is that someone who has a 200 [as their room draw number] will get a room that someone who had a 200 probably would have had in the last few years,” said Ryan Dick PO ’09, an RA who serves on the Residence Hall Committee.
In the past, students who applied for sub-free housing were put in a room draw pool separate from the regular housing pool. The number of halls designated as sub-free would then be determined based on the number of applications.
Students who applied would be e-mailed this list of rooms, and they would have to turn in their contracts.
Members of the committee said problem with this system was that some students would apply for sub-free simply to be in this smaller pool.
“A lot of people would do sub-free just to get a single on south campus,” said Dick.
“It is important to clarify that this is more a change in procedure than a change in policy,” said Deanna Bos, the housing director. “We are still guaranteeing a bed in a substance-free hall for everyone who asks for one, and you still need to sign a contract in order to live there. The biggest difference is that if you were really hoping to get Clark V [by being in the sub-free pool], it may not happen.”
Committee members say the new procedure also gives students who are unsure whether they want to live in sub-free more time to decide.
“Now they know what their room draw number would have been,” said Bos. “They’re given a piece of information they didn’t have in previous years to help them make their decision.”
“Obviously, when you change a procedure you don’t know what the problems with it are until after you have tried it,” said Bos.
However, the Residence Hall Committee is very optimistic about this new procedure.
“The good thing about this solution is that it still allows these people to get sub-free housing; it just cuts out the advantage of it,” said Dick.