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November 13, 1998 - Image 12

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-11-13

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12 - The M:ch a Daiy - Friray, November 13, 1998

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FOR LSA FIRST-YEAR STUDENT GINA KLEIN, CHOOSING WHAT
AREA OF CAMPUS SHE WANTED TO CALL HOME WAS MORE THAN
JUST A MATTER OF ACCESSIBILITY TO THE LIBRARY.

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B efore filling out her University Housing application, Klein
consulted her friends' older brothers and sisters, who attended
the University, for advice.
"Mv friends' siblings said that because I'm from New York, I'd
probably want to live in either Lloyd or Markley since a lot of people
from New York live there," said Klein, a Markley resident.
Klein said the thought of living in an area that had a reputation for
being popular with students from the East Coast was comforting.
"I always think, 'birds of a feather flock together,"' Klein said. "I
knew I'd be away from home and I wanted to live with my friends
because I wanted to be around people that I know."
Despite calls for diversity from University administrators and stu-
dent groups, many students like Klein desire to live near their friends
or people who share similar backgrounds and interests.
The reputations
Many University students say they believe residence halls and their
occupants have distinct and powerful reputations.
LSA senior David Caroline, a Residential College student, said
East Quad often serves as the butt of jokes because of its reputation
that the occupants are "liberal" and "alternative" because of the
atmosphere associated with the RC.
"People think it is the weirdest place on campus," Caroline said.
Caroline said he combats the jokes about East Quad regularly
and enjoys the reactions he receives when he reveals his RC sta-
tus.
"People are surprised they are talking to someone from East Quad,
that they could actually identify with someone from there," Caroline
joked. *
But the reputation does not just plague members of the Residential
College.
Although some students assume East Quad provides rooms only
to RC students, 43 percent of occupants are not RC students.
LSA first-year student Sarah Tupper, an East Quad resident, said
she often has to explain she is not in the RC.
"I always have to deal with people asking, "How do you live
there'?" Tupper said.
Although she does not have ties to the RC, Tupper said people are
just as apt to apply the preconceptions to her.
"1 feel like they assume we are alternative, and that preppy, sporty
people live in South Quad or West Quad," Tupper said.
South Quad residents said they are aware of their reputation that
they are more likely to wear Nike sneakers and drink Gatorade but
don't understand why the stereotype is so strong.
"I had heard the stereotype and I'm from out of state," said
Ingincering sophomore Christopher Quick, a resident of South Quad.
"But I haven't found it to be true," he added.
Quick said there are more than just athletes that reside in South
Quad.
"There is a mix of everyone," Quick said.
In that mix are a large amount of Honors Program students.
A hhough South Quad is known as the "athletic" or "party" residence
hall, Ilousing Public Affairs Director Alan Levy said there are three
times as many honors students than athletes in the hall.
Stereotypes don't only plague the co-ed residence halls of Central
Campus.
LSA first-year student Jane Purakal said her residence hall, Betsey
Barbour, often elicits unfavorable images.
"People always ask, 'Did you choose to live there?" Purakal said.
This question, Purakal said, often comes because of the activities
people associate with all-female residence halls.
"People think we are straight arrows, that we don't have a social
life and study all the time," she said.
North Campus residents said they feel they often face the assump-
tion that they either carry a flute or sport the latest in Texas Instrument
technology.
LSA first-year student Sarah Cavins said she is familiar with the
reputation North Campus has for being the stomping grounds for

Engineering and Music stu-
dents.
"Since a lot of the classes for
Engineers are up here, people
think that everyone in Bursley
or Baits (residence hall) is in
Engineering. That's not so,"
Cavins said. "I know a lot of
engineers living on the Hill and
a lot of LSA (students) here."
Helpful or hurtful
While students might hate
the reputations of the residence
halls in which they live, LSA -
junior Chris Charboneau said
he thinks it might be helpful
for incoming students who are
trying to find their niche.
"I started in East Quad and
didn't like it," said
Charboneau, who later moved
out of the residence hall. "The
people in my hall had different
interests."
The generalizations,
Charboneau said, might allow
students to choose an area or
learning community that fits
their style.
"If you are arty... you can
go to East Quad and dye your
hair purple," Charboneau said.E
"At South Quad they might not East Quad Residence Hall Is known
be as accepting, and you'd get artistic and "liberal."
a couple looks."
Other students say the reputations of residence halls are not always
true and that on-campus living is what you put into it.
"You can be happy wherever you live and you don't know the real
story unless you do live there," Tupper said.
Levy warned that stereotypes portraying a certain environment
don't guarantee that the environment will still be that way if a stu-
dent lives there.
"People need to be careful with stereotypes," Levy said. "They
can be quite tongue-and-cheek, but some are downright pernicious
and ugly."
Preferencing residence halls
Up until fall 1996, students were allowed to rank the actual resi-
dence halls as opposed to just a general campus area.
Levy identified three reasons the University chose to end the prac-
tice, including creating space for living communities, stopping the
no-win situation if students weren't pleased with their assignment
and preventing students from selecting a residence hall based on
rumors of its residents and environment.
Additional motivation for abolishing preferencing, Levy said, was
to dispel stereotypes that residence halls have acquired over the years
but that reason was "not a driving force."
Regardless, some students think that preferencing actual residence
halls is more desirable.
Purakal said that, as a student, being able to express your interest
in a certain residence hall would allow the student a sense of control.
"Where you live is a big deal. It's your haven," Purakal said.
"When they give you a choice your the one that made the decision
and your more apt to stick to it. Your not just thrown in."
The current system
Levy insists any type of geographical connections with residence
halls is strictly coincidental.
In 1996, the most current data available for the in state/out-of-state
breakdown of the residence halls indicates that even after ranking of
preferences of specific residence halls ended, 65 percent of students
living in South Quadrangle were in-state residents, where as only 45
percent of Alice Lloyd was composed of in-state students.
"We have the geographical data but we don't use it," Levy said.
Many University students express skepticism to that claim.
Last year, LSA first-year student Josh Naramore, then a high
school senior, visited an older friend who lived in Markley.
Before his visit, his friends told Naramore they felt Markley had a
large amount of students from New York.
Although Naramore thought his friends were exaggerating, "the
stereotype intensified when I came," Naramore said.
"All of New York seemed to be in Markley," he said.
Naramore, now a Markley resident himself, is suspicious about the
randomness of the housing assignments.
"It couldn't happen the way it is. All of my floor is from the same
high school. That's not random," he said.
The techniques
For some students, the desire to live in a specific area on campus
influenced them to join living/learning communities- University
programs that pride themselves on creating a small college setting
and opportunity to build closer relationships.

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NATHAN RUFFER/Da Iy
as the home of the Residential College. Students refer to the hall and its occupants as

LSA first-year student Nicole Seigel said her desire to live in the
Hill Area of campus prompted her to enroll in the 21st Century pro-
gram, housed in Markley.
"It is the only guarantee of living on the Hill," Seigel said.
Seigel said she enjoys the closer environment the 21st Century
program offers, but one of her motivations was the placement into
Markley.
"I might have chosen to live in South Quad but there was no guar-
antee I would have gotten in," Seigel said.
Levy said the Housing Department is aware that students take
advantage of the learning communities.
"For those applying (to the learning communities) as a way to get
into the building ... I hope the quality of the program will bring them
in as a real participant," Levy said.
"But, we reserve the right to move them into another hall. Those
spaces are expressly held for active program participants," he added.
The alumni
Although preferencing was intended to help dispel some of the
reputations, they have deep roots that do not break easily.
University alumna Stacy Callahan, who lived on campus during
1982-1986, said residence halls definitely had certain tags.
"South Quad was where the jocks were," said Callahan, now a
senior accountant at the School of Information.
The all-female residence halls, Callahan said, were often teased as
well.
"The name given to Stockwell was the 'Virgin Vault,"' Callahan
said.
University alumnus Dennis Chamberlain, who also attended the
University during the early '80s, said the residence halls had specific
reputations.
"East Quad was known for being artsy," Chamberlain said.
Chamberlain said he also found that students from geographical
areas preferred certain areas.
Even then, Chamberlain said the Hill area was known as having a
lot of residents from the East Coast.
There weren't "a lot of New Yorkers dying to live in North
Campus," Chamberlain said.
Bernice Price, who attended the University during the early '70s,
said she does not remember a certain geographical reputation associat-
ed with certain residence halls but remembers that the halls were known
for preferring to associate with people from the residence halls.
But Price, who lived in Bursley for all four of her years, said she
and her fellow residents fit this generalization.
"They said the same about us," Price said.
"We seemed to be a lot closer than other dorms because we were
more isolated than the other dorms," Price added.
The implications
"More good stuff happens in residential halls then anywhere else
on campus," Levy said.
Levy said that although living among people from different back-
grounds may create tension now, he hopes the lessons learned will
foster tolerance and good experience to apply to the future.
"We get the debris, but maybe good stuff shows four or five years
down the road when experiences show up in a more sophisticated
way," Levy said.

f

By Daily Staff Reporter Nika Schulte

DANA LINNANE/Daily
LSA sophornores Julie Slade and Jennie Leung study In a lounge at Betsey Barbour
Residence Hall yesterday. Many students characterize the hall's atmosphere as studious.

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