Author: Soo Jin Kim
NEW RES-HALL UPDATE
The much anticipated residence hall, adjacent to Pauley and Stewie, will be completed on schedule by January 2, as promised by Project Manager Joe O’Hara.
Assistant Director of Residence Life and Housing Services Amanda Atkinson said that the new residence hall is almost ready, with carpeted floors and painted walls in some parts of the hall. She also mentioned that the road towards the hall is now paved, and that new plants had been delivered for the hall.
Facilities provided residents of Bell-Young, Erdman and Wylie Halls with moving boxes on December 1 at the “Boxes and BBQ” event in Erdman Hall. Director of Communications Jim Tranquada also commented on the near completion of the residence, stating that room furniture will be moved in right after the new year, so that students can move in on Saturday, January 19. He also said Residence Life is planning an open house in late January for the entire student body to see the new residence hall.
Presently, there is no formal name for the new residence hall, as there have been no major donors yet. It is being referred to either as the “new residence hall” or as Rangeview Hall by officials. “The search for donors is a lengthy process,” Tranquada said.
The College is currently looking for donors to put their names on the hall, the lounges and even the fitness center. Tranquada said that it would cost a donor several millions of dollars for the hall to be named after him or her, while the lounges, classrooms and fitness center would be a little under $1 million each.
Atkinson is very optimistic about the whole project. “I love floor plans,” she said. “I even go on the internet to search for floor plans.” The floor plans are detailed, even showing the number of toilets in each floor. She pointed out the features that make the new residence hall unique. “It’s all about the possibility of what’s going to happen in the future,” she said.
There will be three towers in the hall, presently named A, B and C, with walkways linking each. The main floor of Tower B (middle tower) will be open for all students on campus. In it, there will be classrooms, recreation rooms, multi-purpose rooms, lounges, a kitchen, a study lounge and fitness room filled with exercise machines like treadmills and weight machines. There will also be a three-level basement garage available for students, with 235 parking spaces.
A swipe-card system will ensure extra safety and security. Students and faculty members will be able enter the main floor of Tower B by using their cards, but only residence members will be able to access the rooms using their ID cards. The new hall will also have Closed-Circuit Television running 24 hours a day outside main entrances, inside the garages and possibly inside the main floor of Tower B and the stairwells of the residence floors.
The new hall will have three floors of rooms, mostly doubles with their own bathroom, as well as some three-single clusters, which share a bathroom. Most of the students moving in next semester are from Wylie, Bell-Young and Erdman—the residence halls that will be renovated next semester—as well as some students returning from abroad.
The next big stage before the hall is complete involves the approval of B permits, which will allow the school to make new pavements, curbs and gutters. Because the new residence hall is on the edge of Oxy’s property, it needs LA permits for these changes. O’Hara also assures that the new residence hall is up to date with all the state codes and laws for all safety rules, including a full sprinkler system and a fire alarm system.
“January will be pretty busy for us,” Tranquada said. By January 2, all the interior and exterior decorations are expected to be finished. The furniture will be moved in during the first week of January. Prospective donors will also be given a tour of the new residence hall during January, in the hopes of attracting funding for the project.
Atkinson, Tranquada and O’Hara believe that the new residence hall, with its new classrooms, multi-function rooms and lounges, will help bring a new future to students.
“I’m really excited about it and I can’t wait until next semester . . . [when] we can move in,” Tim Urista (senior) said. “It’s all going to be really new and cool.”
AMANDA ATKINSON RESIGNS
Assistant Director of Residence Life and Housing Services Amanda Atkinson announced in late November her intent to resign at the end of this semester. She plans on joining the program “Semester at Sea” as the new resident director of the ship for a semester. She said she was looking forward to it, calling it a “once in a lifetime chance.”
The Residence Life and Housing Services have already begun the search to find a new assistant director, meeting with candidates throughout last week. Director of Residence Life and Housing Services Kecia Baker wished Atkinson well, saying that the program is a wonderful opportunity for her.
STUDENT “SIT IN”
Occidental students performed a “sit in” on the first floor of the Coons Administration Building, outside the Residence Life and Housing Services offices, Wednesday, November 28. The “sit in” centered on the November 26 termination of Pauley Hall Coordinator Rozell Hodges (senior).
Hodges resigned in late October from his duties as Pauley HC for next semester. The resignation will go into effect as of December 16. Hodges, who was recently elected Campus Wide Senator for the spring semester, cited a lack of support and a busy schedule as to why he decided to resign. “I was overcommitted and I felt a lack of support in ResLife,” he said.
According to Baker, it is normal for two to three Resident Advisors to resign every semester or year. She said that a similar number of people resigned last year. Hodges explained that on October 9 he received a probation letter from ResLife. “I was put on probation because of a lack of taking care of my duties,” he said. Hodges said that prior to receiving his probation letter, he collected several complaints against Area Coordinator Bobby Rodgers.
Hodges said he received his probation letter during a meeting with Director of Residence Life & Housing Services Kecia Baker in mid-October regarding the complaints against Rodgers.
Baker said the matter is a “complicated situation” and one that didn’t need to become public. She explained that having employees resign wasn’t unnatural, saying that when she was a student, she had “never gone a year” without resignations. She said it was natural to have employees resign for various reasons and that each employee had the right to resign without giving a cause. “We have to have respect for them,” she said.
According to ResLife policy, Hodges would have to pay for the rest of his boarding this semester, and would not be allowed to room in Pauley next semester, because he no longer serves as Pauley’s HC. Baker said that in the compensation agreement, employees agree that they receive free boarding only for the duration of their employment. After resigning, they agree to start paying boarding fees. She stated that Hodges will be allowed to stay in Pauley next semester.
Baker also said that it was “an unfortunate situation that I am sorry that happened.” She continued by saying there is a mediation session planned for the final week of the semester between Baker and Hodges, and between Baker and Pauley residents.
The mediation sessions will be assisted by Director of Religious and Spiritual Life Diana Akiyama. Baker said everyone is “going towards the healing stage.” She stressed that it was a sensitive and complex situation and hoped that everyone would be able to start “moving on and healing.”
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