Make Colby College Reinstate Off-Campus Housing Opportunities

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On October 8th, 2017, Dean Burrell-McRae sent an announcement on behalf of Colby College stating that with the completion of "the mixed-use development in downtown Waterville to house 200 students committed to civic engagement and community partnerships, we will soon have the ability to provide Colby housing to all students, long a goal at the College." Consequently, the construction of this $25.5 million Main Street apartment complex would mean that "all students should plan to live in Colby housing for the 2018-19 academic year." 

However, many Colby students feel as if this decision is a direct impediment on their autonomies, levels of privacy, and socio-economic freedoms, and from what is made visible to students in the most recent revision, the Colby College Student Handbook neither makes it clear that living on campus is required, nor has such a rule been enforced. Therefore, it completely undermines several rights that are reserved for students, regardless of what the college deems to be fit.

I started this project originally for a class, Public Anthropology (AY374), to investigate something that I thought was truly interesting: why people choose to live off-campus versus on campus. However, after the change was made by the College, I wanted to channel my efforts into something more meaningful. Living off-campus is the best decision that I could have made for a myriad of reasons, and I am not ready to see future Colby students be made absent of this choice. For the past four months, I have engaged in extensive research to reach the conclusion that Colby is making a huge mistake that will not go unseen by its students. This petition is just the culmination of the information I have received in this time frame.

So, through a combination of my own agency and others' echoing similar sentiments regarding this abrupt shift in policy, I have created this petition to showcase to Colby that students, alumnae, faculty, staff, and community members disagree with the agenda that they have created for their students, especially one that detracts from many facets about this institution that have brought us all here together in the first place. This continues to be an ongoing trend, one that myself and many others will not stand for. As Colby students, we ask for a space to let our voices and opinions be heard, and if Colby won't provide that space, we will carve it out for ourselves.

It should be noted that this petition is not against the construction or inhabitance of the downtown dorms, but rather against the prohibiting of off-campus property leases. Students believe that there should be and can be coexistence between the two, as they would and do serve completely different functions. Living in the downtown dorm would still be an elected decision, and if not enough people have interest in residing downtown, the campus will still be plagued with overcrowding, and dorm conditions will not improve.

Please sign this petition in a collective effort to help Colby College understand that this policy needs to be severely revised or rethought altogether, and that the option to live in off-campus residences needs to be reinstated.

To learn more about the efforts put into this resistance, please visit: http://arcg.is/2B1Bplc



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