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Administrators confirm 2012 switch to house model

Steve Nowicki, dean and vice provost of undergraduate education, spoke about the proposed house model at Campus Council’s Thursday meeting.
Steve Nowicki, dean and vice provost of undergraduate education, spoke about the proposed house model at Campus Council’s Thursday meeting.

Amid speculation and rumors about changes to the housing system, University officials confirmed Thursday that certain residential models will be retained, though a new model is slated to be implemented by Fall 2012.

Steve Nowicki, dean and vice provost of undergraduate education, attended the Campus Council meeting Thursday night to address issues surrounding the house model.

He noted that although houses—blocked residence hall sections—will not necessarily be themed or group-driven, social selective groups will retain rights to a section under the new model. He also confirmed that East Campus will remain exclusive to first-year students.

Nowicki cited equity and community as the key issues in the switch to a new model.

“In our current residential system, there are some residents that are privileged over others,” Nowicki said. “Social selective groups have a level of privilege, and then there are the independents who have a much lower level of privilege.”

Nowicki referenced cohesive living units and the opportunity to return to a section every year as some of the benefits selective groups enjoy over independent students.

“This house model will enjoy what’s good about the system, and give that same privilege to everybody,” he said.

Nowicki clarified that the new housing proposal is different from the one that was in place until 2001—the current quad model was introduced that year. He compared the new residence experience to a neighborhood, encouraging a cohesive community.

“The quad model emerged out of something much more chaotic,” he said.

Nowicki said the various house model working groups, composed of administrators and students, are developing a skeleton of principles for the model and will next focus on logistics. The 2012 model was proposed in 2006, as part of New Campus, which would better accommodate the new model, Nowicki said. New Campus construction, however, was delayed due to the recession, and administrators are focusing on other ways to implement the new model on existing structures.

Goals for the short term, Nowicki said, include working out a final draft of the Duke house model, continuing work on Central Campus and transportation and focusing on improvements to Edens Quadrangle.

“What we are going to reach at the end of this process is not perfection—perfection is in the long run,” he said. “I can’t wait that long for current Duke students and I won’t let perfect get in the way of the good that will come from the house model.”

In other business:

Joe Gonzalez, associate dean of Residence Life and Housing Services, affirmed Nowicki’s plans to continue improvements on Central, noting that a promenade connecting the two ends of Central will be completed in early December.

Further work, like painting and roof replacements for apartments, will begin in October. RLHS is also in the process of identifying interior work and outdoor stairwell maintenance that will take place next summer.

The Council also voted to expand the newspaper readership program, adding an additional newspaper box in Mill Village on Central.

Applications for spots on the Residential Group Assessment Committee and the Approval Removal Committee under the Collaborative Housing Process are being accepted until Sept. 26, said Public Relations Director Jeremy Ruch, a sophomore. Spots are open to residentially unaffiliated students, and the Campus Council Executive Board will review applications before electing members to each of the committees.

The Interfraternity Council and the Selective House Council will appoint one representative each to the ARC and two representatives each to the RGAC.

The Council also approved a $162,000 budget for this year, an increase over last year as a result of $54,000 in roll-over funds, said Treasurer Leslie Andriani, a junior.

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