Dear Mom: Off-Campus and Ostracized

Mom, Opinion Writer

Dear Mom,

I’m a senior who lives off campus. What’s with all this talk about seniors not contributing to or not having a sense of the Whitman community? I think that’s BS. I’ve seen it, I’ve lived it, I’m still a part of it. Get with the program, Kathy & Co!

Can you confirm this?

Off Campus and Ostracized by the Administration


Dear Off Campus,

We’re so glad to see you bring this to our attention. We’ve been thinking the same thing! We don’t want to start a conspiracy theory, but we feel as though the administration may be trying to subtly change the campus structure so that upperclassmen will eventually be forced to live on campus. We’ve noticed this in some key places: like the new Dean of Students interview in The Wire wherein Mr. Mooko talks about upperclassmen living on campus at Pomona, as well as the email about the changes to pay-by-credit, in discussions about the new dorm and in comments by a member of the administration at ASWC’s most recent town hall.

We are deeply troubled by this! We think the Administration is potentially pursuing this agenda without the consultation of students on and off campus. We, for one, disagree strongly with the idea that bringing seniors back on campus will foster a stronger community—if you want to just make more money for the college then make your case, but don’t use the buzzword of “community” as a cover for your economic interests. In our estimation the community off campus and is as connected to Whitman as ever. Don’t believe us? Walk into the library on a Sunday evening, or ask juniors and seniors what they’re involved in and what their weekly schedule looks like.

Furthermore, the administration is not taking a number of things into account. First, off campus housing, much of which lies in a three block radius surrounding Whitman, is barely off campus. Most off campus students can make it to class in under five minutes, and many live as close to Ankeny as Anderson residents. These are juniors and seniors who frequent Reid trivia night, who attend guest lectures and who are involved in a plethora of clubs and extracurriculars on campus. Second, there are ways to create community on campus without requiring students to live on campus or pay more for their education, and these solutions would prove more permanent and productive. The administration should be very careful not to conflate economic gains with student well being. Third, the administration does not fully appreciate the value of off campus living, which prepares students for adulthood and creates a unique space for students to transition from the fully-supporting residence halls to living on their own. And those are just some thoughts to start with.

We feel you, Off Campus and we hope the Administration is listening.


Lots of love,