Thanks to writer Catherine Allchin for reminding us of how absurdly different “dorm life” once was from “campus life” today. Reading her column in Sunday’s NYT about the differences between her mother’s dorm rules and her own at the University of Oregon shouldn’t shock you if you’ve got kids in college or about to enter college.
The price tag is vastly different thanks to this tumor of a college bubble – and the “life” there is quite different too.
And top-tier colleges, making unprecedented profits from their students while they’re on campus, have figured out that getting them comfortable in their lush suite-style living so they’ll want to stay on campus for all four years – or better yet five or six – is to their advantage. That’s why they’ve kept local police away and codified residence life manuals that put Hammurabi to shame.
Take Boston University, for example. At a price tag of $52,000, $14,000 of which is room and board, the school drafted a “Lifebook” for its residents, one which stands in stark comparison to Allchin’s mother’s code a half-century ago.
With a healthy picture of someone doing laundry on its cover, the book gets into stark detail early on:
“In the residences, possession of drug paraphernalia or items that may be utilized for illegal drug use (i.e., hookah pipes and shisha pipes) is prohibited. Drug paraphernalia includes but is not limited to items such as roach clips, bongs, any type of water pipe, or any object filled with water through which smoke is drawn.”
Students of age can bring six-packs to their rooms, no problem, as long as they keep paying that $14k tab. And of course, at the school that had severe issues with sexual incidents this past year has spent dozens of paragraphs talking about sexual assault and proper decorum around the opposite sex. It’s learned its lesson. And just in case you were curious:
“When there is a question of sexual abuse or assault in a situation involving alcohol or drugs, the student who was sexually abused or assaulted is not subject to discipline under the University’s alcohol and drug policies.”
This, future teachers and businessmen and nurses, is “life,” according to BU’s “Lifebook.”
And if they have questions, BU residents can probably tweet the dean or read his blog. No evil Dean Pritchard here. This one goes by “Ken.” He’s super-cool! Your kids will never want to leave!
BU’s high-rise luxury apartment-dorms with “Lifebooks” to boot match those of dozens of other universities nationwide. At the profits their making (BU’s endowment is over $1 billion), they can’t build fast enough.
One only wonders whether this year’s recent graduates, getting their first loan bills during this recession, still have Dean Ken on their speed-dial to ask for advice.