Quality of life lower in Clay Hall for first-years

Dear Editor,

At risk of sounding too curmudgeonly, I believe the party culture at Transy is a significant detriment to the quality of life for some first-year males on this campus, largely because of their inability to opt out of it. I think many social troubles exist at Transy that we underestimate or fail to identify, and this is one of them. Some of these are inescapable on a wet campus, but we could mitigate most of them. I hope to bring attention to those issues that concern first-year males.

Disregarding the troubles Davis Hall causes itself, there is no logic in housing first-year males in Clay Hall, which is essentially an extension to Davis. As I see it, a residence hall room should possess some basic qualities: It should be a place where one can get a healthy seven to eight hours of sleep during the entire week, it should be secure and it should be a place where one can simply exist peacefully. My room did not fulfill these needs.

Note that I make these assertions regardless of the nature of residence halls at other universities or at Transylvania in the past. I believe there is a causal relationship between the proximity of Clay to Davis and the disappointing conditions of the former.

The key problem with Clay-Davis is the failure to separate “places to live” and “places to party.” To illustrate, when someone rips out an exit sign and much of the ceiling around it on the first floor of Clay — and I will have to pay for it out of my housing deposit — I not only feel unsafe, but I’m also quite irritated that I was penalized for such behavior, for I did not choose to live in Clay.

The proximity of Clay to Davis is troublesome, but other factors contribute to the problem as well: an apathetic attitude toward harmful underage drinking habits, a Department of Public Safety staff often unwilling or unable to monitor dangerous behavior, and a poor sense of community.

More than anything, we require a haven for first-year males who do not wish to live in the heart of the party culture. Potential solutions would likely involve rearrangement of residence halls or construction of new ones.

Regardless of how we confront the issue, I hope we can improve the quality of life for first-year males and make their Transy experience that much better.

-Miller Travis ’13

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