Freshmen housed in substance-free sophomore dorm
For the first time, former sophomore dorm Rutledge House is full of freshmen. Even though Residential Life (ResLife) intended to close the building before the start this semester, it remains in use as a fully substance-free freshman building because of the large size of the freshman class.
Before the summer, ResLife planned to close Rutledge with the completion of South 40 House and Eliot B House but had to keep the dorm open and expand the residence limit on the South 40 to house the unanticipated freshman numbers.
Associate Vice Chancellor for Students and Dean of Students Justin Carroll said that the reason for the alleged replacement wasn’t because of its aging facilities.
“We didn’t think we needed it,” Carroll said. “We could conceivably have more students living with us.”
When the incoming freshman class was noticeably bigger than expected, there wasn’t enough room for everyone to live on the South 40 without continuing the use of Rutledge.
According to Carroll, there had previously been a conditional use permit from the city of Clayton, allowing a maximum of 3,000 students to live on the South 40. During the past year, administration had met with city officials, and on May 12, the ceiling on the South 40 was raised to 3,300.
In 1998, the administration initiated a plan to improve housing over a period of many years, according to Carroll.
He added that the closing of certain dorms was to be a part of this plan, as was the case with Rutledge.
Some students believe that the reason for the proposed closing of Rutledge as opposed to any other dorm was for its reputation as a party dorm. The building was, in past years, filled with sophomores, but is a completely substance-free freshman dorm this year, a transformation that students believe is a response to the allegedly wild dorm life that once inhabited Rutledge.
Because of the balconies, the concrete walls, and the basic design of the dorm, with few suites and large, partially private common rooms, the dorms are well suited for soirees.
Though Carroll denies that Rutledge’s proposed closing and current state as substance-free housing had anything to do with its past, it seems that some Rutledge residents have been assigned substance-free without asking for it.
“I didn’t want to live in substance-free [housing],” freshman Connie Shao said.
In addition, Shao said that she applied for a different housing style than she received. She noted that a number of her fellow Rutledge residents shared a similar problem.
“The dorm is not very social, because everybody’s separated by doors and stairs and always kind of quiet,” she added. “It’s really not that bad and doesn’t make much of a difference.”
The only notable distinction is that students have to sign a contract agreeing to abstain from using alcohol, tobacco and other drugs within the residential community.