In the first of four annual meetings over this past weekend, the Swarthmore College Board of Managers discussed campus renovations, the financial status of the school, and admissions policies.
As expected, the Board approved plans to build a sister dorm to Alice Paul. This second half had always been a part of the original plans for the Parrish and Alice Paul renovations. But both set of plans were scaled back when the campaign did not have the funds to support them. “But we are in a better financial position now,” says Vice President Maurice Eldridge’61 “and there are enough pressures to go ahead and complete it.”
One of those pressures is the increased demand for on-campus housing. The (new) new dorm will give the college more flexibility in assigning housing, and it will eliminate some of the less popular housing options from the pool. “It allows us to stop putting triples in Parrish, stop using the lounges in Dana and Hallowell, maybe take the rooms in the basement in Mary Lyon, and use them as overflow housing rather then as part of the regular lottery. Maybe weÃƒâ€¢ll be able to take the lodges out of housing and start using them as student meeting places instead.” reflects Eldridge.
Because much of the infrastructure that was originally planned for the second building was moved back to Alice Paul, there will be some adjustments to the new design. However, once the project is completed, the two buildings will come together to form a courtyard. The renovations will begin in March 2007 and should end by April 2008. The building will be ready for occupancy in Fall of 2008, just in time for the Class of 2012.
The Board also heard the report on admissions from admissions dean Jim Bock’90. In light of HarvardÃƒâ€¢s decision to end the early admission, the Board had some discussion regarding SwarthmoreÃƒâ€¢s early admission program. As of now, Swarthmore has no plans to change or eliminate its early decision program. “We will clearly continue to discuss it… but we are not going to rush into a decision,” says Eldridge.
However, Eldridge is not convinced by the arguments made against early admissions that claim it is a discriminatory practice. “We still manage to get a diverse class, we still meet people’s financial need, and we don’t hold people if they can’t accept the financial aid offer. The diversity we get is both socio-economically interesting as well as in terms of race and ethnic diversity.”
The Board also approved the audit, and announced that Swarthmore had exceeded its goals of raising $231 million dollars by December 2006 in the Meaning of Swarthmore campaign. “The fact that we were able to announce that we had surpassed the dollar goal was very exciting for everyone. And I believe we will be able to exceed those goals come December,” says Eldridge. “All in all, it was a very good weekend for the Board.”