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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

CANOE to Hill move delayed amid social concerns

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“We’re off timetable. We are not ready to do that as a college. I would say that CANOE as an organization wasn’t ready either,” summarized Joe Baggot, the Class Dean for first-year students. Sitting in his well-lit office in Severance, Baggot speaks with careful consideration. His hands move precisely, but expressively, to assist in his explanation.

Warranting Baggot’s measured answer was a simple question, albeit an open-ended one: in your words, what happened to Hill House?

The question arose when a few weeks ago word got out that the Carleton Association of Nature and Outdoor Enthusiasts (CANOE) would not move into Hill House until fall of 2016. This surprised many upperclassmen, who returned to campus expecting CANOE to move into Hill this upcoming winter, once renovations were complete. CANOE publicly confirmed the delay, but left it to the administration to shed light on the reasons behind the decision.

“There were some things that [CANOE] was involved with, some behavior, that just had us take a little pause,” Baggot explains, “and say you know, if we’re going to have this pretty special relationship with a house like this we are going to need to be in better communication and make sure some things aren’t happening.” His ambiguously positive language reflects kindly on CANOE, and he makes sure to state, “The impact they have throughout this community is pretty wide. We do value what they bring to campus.”

When asked, Baggot relinquished details about CANOE’s specific transgressions. These included a progressive stop that involved police, use of a keg, and misuse of a campus vehicle. But Baggot much preferred to emphasize CANOE as an interest house back on the right track. “Right now I think we have open communication, good understanding with CANOE, good relationships.”

The CANOE house case constitutes an unusual form of disciplinary action, considering interest houses only rarely move facilities. Additionally, some students point out that wild progressive stops and kegs frequently go unbothered or unnoticed on campus. These students cite the college’s decision to hold CANOE to these standards as evidence that the administration is cracking down on alcohol at Carleton. Baggot dismisses the idea of any unannounced change in alcohol policy that would confirm this belief, and says it’s his duty to enforce the community standards for the cases that go through his office, not every possible violation on campus.

The decision, which includes a one year social probation for CANOE, is not made by the Office of Student Life alone. The choice to delay the opening of Hill House came out of the Tuesday Group – a nickname for meetings between Carleton’s President, Steven Poskanzer, and his senior staff. Fred Rogers, Carleton’s Vice President, Treasurer, and a member of the Tuesday Group, gave roughly the same story as Baggot in Student Life. He cleared up rumors that an auxiliary reason for the delay is that the recent chapel renovation occupied the human resources intended for Hill House. This rumor simply doesn’t add up, explained Rogers, because Carleton contracts outside of the school for major projects of construction.

Most construction projects come from the college’s general funds, but the financing for the Hill House renovation came from an alumni donation specifically intended for helping CANOE. Rogers thought that the alumni who donated were disappointed by the delay, but still excited for the house to open in the fall.

Rogers additionally noted that it was not uncommon for the administration to take away the facilities of an interest house due to misconduct. “It’s always a question with Residential Life and the Dean of Students as to whether it’s an appropriate time to assign a certain group to a certain house,” said Rogers. “They have to make that judgment based on their proposal, based on their performance, based on their behavior. And I think there was a feeling that, given what happened last year, there was not the motivation to push this through immediately and make that happen for that group right now.”

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