Lost sense of home on campus

Burlington’s decision to require that UVM house 70 percent of its students on campus is a blow to students, but the University can be faulted for expanding beyond the means of the community.UVM administrators have long been criticized for policies that many see as overextending the University’s reach, but both the administration and these critics have paid little attention to the effect this expansion has had on the community that surrounds it. UVM policies are effectively dumping huge numbers of new residents into a town that is not prepared to absorb the costs.But that doesn’t mean that moving almost all of the students back on campus is a good idea.In fact, it threatens to make worse the already troubled relationship between the normal residents of the town and the students — many of whom feel that their economic and cultural contributions to the community are already under-appreciated.A greater solution could be made, if only UVM would work more closely with the town to tackle their mutual problems.  The Burlington City Council has made the decision to push students back on campus without any discussion with the UVM administrators or students.     However, part of the issue may also lie in the University’s policies, which grant little ownership over the University to students. Patrolling of dorms by RAs, the increasing intrusion of police into residence halls and policies which require permission to decorate and advertise on campus all create a sense that on-campus life is hostile to student interests and encourages the campus population to seek life outside the bounds of the University’s grasp.A sense of home is absent in the dorms, and student actions have demonstrated this.At the walk-out this past Thursday, students and faculty demanded, in part, greater involvement in and ownership of the University.If policies are changed so that students feel a greater sense of home in the dorms, and if UVM can encourage students to want to live on campus, then perhaps we can deal with this issue more pleasantly.