McCormick refugees flee to MacG, BC

Unhappy with dining, six students to move

Sophomores and juniors at McCormick Hall have been given the option of moving to Burton Conner or MacGregor next fall due to dissatisfaction with the new dining plan. The former McCormick residents will be integrated as formal residents of their new houses, residing in non-dining communities that maintain the single-sex aspect of living in McCormick.

These McCormick residents were given a one-time option to request a transfer to one of the two dorms because there were no plans for mandatory dining when they were freshmen, and McCormick is the only all-female dorm. McCormick transfers will have priority on the waitlist to enter Burton Conner and MacGregor. Transfers will be placed in rooms using the existing rooming procedures for each dorm.

Interest in transfers began when a McCormick resident expressed concern about the new dining plan to Charles H. Stewart III, one of the dorm’s housemasters. The McCormick resident and Stewart then discussed the issue with Residential Life and initiated a survey for McCormick upperclassmen. The survey was used to gauge interest in moving to a dorm without a dining plan.

In response to the survey, which showed interest in dorm transfers, a follow-up meeting was arranged for students who were interested in alternative housing options. As a final step, an email survey was sent to students with qualitative questions to see what kinds of housing options residents supported.

In addition, a dining-related petition was circulated to McCormick upperclassmen. Roughly half of the dorm residents signed the petition, indicating that they were dissatisfied with the new dining plan; some even indicated they wanted to move out of McCormick.

“We worked to transfer students in a way that meets their needs and minimizes their impact on their prospective dorms,” noted Robin Baughman, Assistant Director of Housing.

Though Random Hall has existing all-female and all-male floors, only Burton Conner and MacGregor were selected for the transfer process. This decision was made based on McCormick residents’ preferences, which included proximity to campus and proximity to friends who will still live in McCormick. Another reason for the selection was that Random Hall has a high number of returning students, which reduces room for prospective freshmen. Transfers to Random Hall would leave even less room for incoming freshmen.

Both Burton Conner and MacGregor have single-gender suites, which also factored into their selection, said Baughman. The dorms will try to accommodate the former McCormick residents with preferences like single-sex bathrooms and living with other transfers, but due to the current structure of the dorms, such requests are not guaranteed.

“We noted to Dean [Henry J.] Humphreys, the Senior Associate Dean of Student Life, that our dorm would not be able to accommodate all requests,” noted MacGregor President Mariya L. Samoylova ’12. “For instance, we do not have single-gender bathrooms.” Nevertheless, each suite in MacGregor and Burton Conner has its own bathroom, and Samoylova said that MacGregor will accommodate the transfers to the best of its ability.

It is unlikely that specific transfer suites or floors that differ from the current rooming structures will be created. If all the needs of the transfers are not met, the Housing Office may look into other alternatives.

As of the March 28 application deadline, five McCormick residents had requested a switch to Burton Conner as their first choice, and one had requested to move to MacGregor. Assignments will be made in a fashion similar to the April switch process.

“Twenty students were initially interested in the transfer, but the actual number of applicants requesting a switch ended up only at six residents,” said Baughman.

The students and their new dorms will be informed of the status of their applications by April 4. Final dormitory assignments will be released on April 21, which coincides with the regular April housing lottery. Transfers will participate in their new dorms’ internal rooming processes in May, which will allow students to request all-female environments and to select suites and rooms.

According to Baughman, transfers will likely end up in suites with non-McCormick females through the internal rooming process, because a relatively low number of students are transferring.