Anticipating a large class of freshmen women in the fall of 2014, housing administration has decided to turn Boppell Hall, the school’s only apartment style on-campus housing, into an all-female dorm. The news has stirred up much controversy, as Boppell is traditionally a top choice for many upperclassmen living on campus. Regardless of the situation, making a unique dorm like Boppell available to only females does not seem like the right decision.
Before the announcement, Whitworth already had two all-female dorms in Ballard and Cornerstone Hall, as well as an all-male dorm in McMillan Hall. Along with the transformation of Boppell into an all-female dorm, Baldwin-Jenkins Hall will go back to its usual 50:50 gender ratio split of freshmen males and females. Although one gender dorms are not rare at Whitworth, the changes to Boppell merit a few surface level concerns.
Imagine that you are a sophomore or junior male at Whitworth this year. You applied to live in Boppell last year, but for whatever reasons, didn’t receive a room. Oh well, there’s always next year, right? Wrong. Boppell is no longer an option for them, and they have been forced to completely rethink their living situation for the 2014-2015 school year.
What about those currently living in Boppell who were planning to exercise the “same room” option for the following school year? Even worse than not receiving a room, these students are now being forced out of their former residences. Now, it is also important to note the other side of the story.
Whitworth has to make room for new students, there are no two ways about it. They certainly recognize that the change is not ideal, but Alan Jacob, the Associate Director of Housing at Whitworth spoke on why the change is necessary during a recent ASWU meeting.
“We delineate in groups of 30 not groups of two, so we look at room by floor rather than by room,” Jacob said. “We were reaching the point where we needed a whole floor of overflow women.”
Jacob also addressed more specifically the issue of current Boppell residents who were planning to live in the same room next year. According to Jacob, this is not an issue.
“Last year we only had three rooms go during the in-house process and only one was male, meaning the majority of that building turns over year after year,” Jacob said.
As a student, is this satisfying? Not really.
Change is necessary, yes, but Boppell is known by many students as one of the best overall dorms on campus. Starting next school year, that dorm will only be available to a portion of female students. Regardless of the questions concerning dorm gender assignments, the decision has been made that making Boppell Hall an all-female dorm is the best option.
Contact Max Carter at firstname.lastname@example.org