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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Editorial: The midyear dilemma

Published: February 3, 2012
Section: Editorials

Each January, Brandeis receives a new handful of midyear students.

Unlike the average first-year arrival, however, these students find residence in the Village.
Now, before our wonderful, beautiful readers get upset thinking that our staff is merely bitter and resentful that we ourselves live in not-so-clean or new housing, we would like to make it clear that we are simply presenting a view of campus life that has not been previously put forward.

Placing midyears in the Village presents multiple drawbacks.

Yes, many first-years are resentful that midyears receive better housing upon arrival. Of course, there is nothing to be done about it but, still, it encourages class conflict. Midyears and other first-years do not considerably interact with each other, which certainly may be due to the housing discrepancy. But putting aside all resentment, by living in the Village, midyears are viewed much like a separate society. It makes it more difficult for the two parties to interact and, let’s be honest, if you had the choice of staying in the Village, eating in the Village and watching a glorious flat-screen TV in the Village, why would you make an effort—in the cold nonetheless—to go anywhere else?

As they will come to learn, however, Brandeis is not one big Village, it is East, Rosie, North and Massell quads and let’s not forget, the Castle. The Village is one of the dankest places in which to live on campus and, sadly, not often procured (to which those of us with high lottery numbers can attest). When midyears find themselves next year in the likes of East, in flooded rooms, hobbit-hallways, one-shower bathrooms, paper-thin walls, faulty windows (the list goes on … and on) they might not think that Brandeis is all they had thought it would be. It’s like setting someone up for a Brownie Earthquake sundae from Dairy Queen and coming back with one of those fake ice cream posers from Hannaford.

Maybe this is Brandeis’ attempt to hold on to as many students as possible, which makes sense of course, but setting its students up for disappointment is unhealthy. With the current lack of housing as it is, our staff, after much debate could not easily come up with a solution that would make all parties happy. We do recognize, however, that housing on campus is a dilemma, has been a dilemma and will continue to be a dilemma that will eventually have to be approached with more than just a lottery number, Band-Aid solution.