In a surprise announcement last night, President Al Bloom said that Swarthmore would end construction of the new dorm and, in fact, begin demolishing it next week. The new dorm was scheduled to open in the fall, and would have housed returning students but not freshmen.
Said Bloom, “We really couldn’t get the traction out of ‘The Meaning of Swarthmore’ that we were hoping to, and when Gene didn’t come through with the funding, we just didn’t know what we were going to do. I mean, how long could we continue to call it the ‘New Dorm’ before people realized the money just wasn’t there.”
Student concern about the housing lottery multiplied tenfold after the announcement. Judy Schwartz ’05 commented derisively, “This year they’re using that little building by the field house and those rooms up on Whittier Place for housing. Maybe next year they’ll convert the empty math/stat offices into doubles.”
Dean Myrt Westphal said that she did not foresee a problem with housing for next year, saying that many schools house incoming freshmen in triples, and it would not be a problem for Swarthmore to put bunks in most rooms over the summer to allow for this option.
Bloom concluded his comments with a public appeal to students to help find the funding, saying that if anybody could find a donor willing to provide roughly 20 million dollars, the college would postpone the demolition for another month in the hope that it would not be necessary.
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