Students for Diverse First-Year Housing

In the letter from the editor, there was a negative comment about the CIO, Students for Diverse First-Year Housing. As a member of the organization, and a Black student, I think that it is important for everyone to understand the purpose of the organization, and the positive effects that its efforts can and will have on our community.

The purpose of Students for Diverse First-year Housing is to promote racial diversity in first year dorms. As it currently stands, the application for housing is “random” and allows students to decide between “New Dorms” and “Old Dorms.” This organization seeks to change the application to simply say, “Hall Style” and “Suite Style.” While this is a small change, it is an effort to decrease the stigma behind living in Old Dorms.

Most of us know that most Black first-year students live in New Dorms, but what many people don’t know is that of the Black students living in New Dorms , well over half of them live in 3 (Woody, Cauthen, and Dobie) of the 13 New Dorms. Clearly there is no “random” housing selection. As a Black community, we are always commenting on how we want more acceptance, more of a sense of community, and more respect on grounds. As it has been stated before by many, at UVa, white students can choose not to interact with Black students, but Black students have no choice but to interact with whites. By diversifying first-year dorms, others would be better able to understand where Black students are coming from, by interacting with us daily in a living situation.

Those who oppose this group often speak of how spreading out the Black community would make it weaker and force us to be some kind of experiment. But, with the number of Black students who are admitted each year, there would be 10-12 Black students living in each dorm. (Consider that currently in some Old Dorms, only two or three Black students live in the entire dorm). Those opinions also speak to the lack of support we have in each other, as though the entire Black community only draws its strength upon how closely together we live. So now, that you know the truth about Students for Diverse First-Year Housing, what do you think?

Lysa Ivey

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