After 76 students stood in protest in front of Parrish Hall demanding renovation of various dormitories across campus, the administration dismissed the requests as “unnecessary” changes that require “no attention at all.” This announcement comes after a “surprise” announcement that the Intercultural Center will go under a $4.3 million renovation.
“I am so disappointed that some members of our community are trying to push for changes that would lead only to waste of millions of dollars,” said Penelope Pincher, Director of Housing. “The administration will take a frugal stance and only renovate buildings that are of absolute necessity. The Intercultural Center is a prime example. I mean, obviously expanding that area is far more important than renovating where our students live, which, in my opinion, is already in fantastic condition.”
The protest was organized mostly by residents of Dana Hall, Hallowell Hall, Wharton Hall, and Willets Hall, all of which are dorms without air-conditioning facilities. Andrew Boiler ’19, a resident of Willets Hall for the second year in a row, expressed deep concerns regarding unequal conditions among dormitories. However, Pincher and a few other administrators, including Kyle Scrooge, Co-Assistant Director of Housing, vehemently expressed their disagreement.
“Student dorms need not be renovated, period,” Scrooge said. “I mean, look at our dorms! They look so nice! Our visitors always compliment us when they look at our dorm buildings, telling us how impressed they are by the architecture. Take Willets, for example. I’ve heard so many compliments from families that Willets looks more like a hotel building rather than a dormitory! And Mary Lyon, my goodness! That’s not a dorm; it might as well be a bed and breakfast! The wide range of aura that our dorms exude, from sleek, modern dorms like Willets, Danawell, Alice Paul, and David Kemp, to homey, cozy dorms like Mary Lyon, Wharton, and Worth, are what makes Swarthmore such a special place to be in! Who cares what it’s like inside—it’s the outside product that matters, right?”
Furthermore, administrators argued that the unequal conditions were part of the Swarthmore learning experience. According to Pincher, dorm inequality allows students to get a real sense of the “greater society” and the “inequality that is inherently embedded within.” Pincher believes that, in some respects, such discomfort may even be beneficial for students in the long-term.
“We are a holistic liberal arts institution,” Pincher said. “Part of a liberal arts education is applying concepts that students learn in the classroom to their real lives. Our residential program is committed to our core philosophy in education as well, and we believe that the apparently unequal conditions—though I honestly don’t see what is so bad about not having air conditioning—will be a great asset to providing a learning experience for our students. This is part of the reason why Swarthmore is considered one of the best liberal arts colleges in the country. Did you know Forbes ranked us in the Top 10, above University of Pennsylvania, in its top college rankings? It is all because of our dedication to educating young minds the best we can.”
The interview with Pincher was conducted before the publication of the 2017 Liberal Arts Colleges rankings by U.S. News and World Report.
After hearing of such complaints from the student body, Yuni Cornland, Co-Assistant Director of Housing, expressed her sadness and anger for the dissatisfactory reports and feedback from students regarding living at Swarthmore. According to Cornland, the staff members of the Housing Department do their very best to serve the students’ needs in all facets of residential life at Swarthmore.
“I wish students would stop criticizing our dormitories,” Cornland said. “I find it very disrespectful of those who decide to speak against the status quo to mar the names and the reputation of our dormitories. H. Thomas Hallowell ’29, William Willets Cocks ’81, and Joseph Wharton would all be saddened to see their own dorms being hated upon by the current students. I am very sure that they are all so proud of the work our staff has done for these dorms and that we continue to keep up the work to provide the best educational experience for our students.”
Disclaimer: Names that appear in this article are not real people. The information presented in this article is purely meant for satirical purposes, and is completely false.