posted on Oct. 27: More residence spaces reserved for first-year students


More first-year students will be living in McMaster's 10 residences next year.

On Oct. 11, Senators approved a recommendation from the Senate Committee on Student Affairs to increase the proportion
of residence spaces allocated to first-year students. The proportion will rise to 80 per cent from 70 per cent.

Currently, 1,800 spaces in residence are designated for first-year students. Some 2,700 students can be accommodated at McMaster.

As a result, fewer upper-level students will be living in residence. The new arrangement will be reviewed annually over the next
three years.

In presenting the recommendation, Mary Keyes, associate vice-president of student affairs, gave three reasons for increasing residence spaces for first-years: the new students benefit socially and culturally from living on campus; the transition to university life is easier; and guaranteed space in residence is an attractive recruitment measure.

While he understands the recruitment benefits of such a change and believes it is beneficial for students to live on campus in
their first year, MSU president Mark Marzotto, said that he, however, would be voting against the recommendation because
the Inter-Residence Council strongly opposes the proposed change. “I will be opposing this recommendation,” said Marzotto, “because I recognize the IRC as the governing body in residence. They (IRC
members) live in the system and know what's best.”

The Inter-Residence Council believes a reduction in the number of
upper-year students will negatively affect a strong residence support system.

Marzotto also expressed concern that Bates, an apartment-style residence for senior students, would become part of the
equation. Both Bates and the new residence, which will also be an
apartment-style facility, would be included in the equation,
said Keyes.

Dean of social sciences Alan Harrison said he would support the
recommendation because guaranteed residence is a huge
draw for first-year students and the proposed change would result in a
reduction of upper-level students and not in an
elimination of them.

The 80-20 ratio approved by the Senators will mean that a total of 525
upper-year students will be living in residence, said
Keyes. The ratio will be applied across all of the residences and not to each residence. Keyes said it was “still possible to do
some fine-tuning” with respect to the Bates equation.