By Michelle CannizzoSpecial to the Chronicle
The Dean of Honors College, Warren Frisina, announced this summer that Liberty and Republic Honors housing will be removed from Hofstra’s campus in the fall of 2014. Due to the high expenses required to renovate the forty-year-old building, Frisina decided that the best option would be to start from a clean slate. As Liberty and Republic Halls had an original expected lifespan of only twenty years, the standing buildings are on twenty years of borrowed time. That's twenty years of slow deterioration, whether from Hurricane Sandy water damage, the Bed Bugs of winter 2010 or the occasional reckless student.
The removal of Liberty and Republic Honors housing should not be seen as the staff taking away a piece of Hofstra; instead, it should be viewed as an opportunity for Hofstra students to take part in the design and growth of their campus.
With only a handful of recreational facilities on campus, such as HofstraUSA and Spiegel Theater, compared to the countless academic buildings on location, Hofstra is in need of more places for its students to relax and enjoy themselves. The newly free space should be used to create something for the enjoyment of students.
For instance, a small movie theater could be built in the free space. The Student Center Theater is not a real movie theater; to be a theater, it must be more than just a screen in a room. The new movie theater should have all of the things that make going to the movies fun: popcorn machines, soda fountains, candy displays, and multiple screening rooms to show a variety of movies at a time. The theater could also have seats that don’t cause back pains or your butt to go numb after an hour of sitting. Of course, Hofstra would charge students a reasonable price for the viewing of a movie and for their snacks.
Another option for the area would be to create a center for commuting students to hang out and pass the time between classes. With only the Student Center lounges and the few dining halls, there are not many places for commuters to entertain themselves while on campus. By building a center for commuting students, Hofstra is helping them gain a sense of belonging to the campus that extends beyond the row of lockers on the top floor of the Student Center.
A question that was raised after the announcement of the removal of the Honors housing was, "where will the honor students go?”. Are we not all going to the same university? There is no valid reason for the honor and non-honor students to be in separate housing. Honor students should be placed in the other residential halls on campus.
By giving honor students separate housing, Hofstra is sending the message that honor students are better than “regular” students. Though having the grades to be an honor student is always a reason to smile, it does not make you better than the student who has a 3.0 grade point average.
The removal of the Honors-exclusive residence halls should not be seen as a negative event, but rather, as a way for Hofstra to better itself: to make this campus more enjoyable, safer, and to give us a stronger sense of community.