As a student in Morse College, the new summer storage policy put forth Tuesday by the Council of Masters seems needlessly harsh and inequitable. The varying abilities of each college to store students’ items during the summer are now constrained by a uniform standard in the interest of equality, passed off as safety and protection.
Under the new rules, students must compact the items they have brought to college into 27 cubic feet. If a student is found in violation of the code –apparently someone will be policing boxes over the summer — the contraband will be thrown away. At the student’s expense, of course.
What are the council’s reasons for the policy change? The reduction of the size of colleges due to renovations, the exponential growth of student possessions, and issues of theft.
Morse has not been renovated, so I can’t speak to the vanishing space phenomenon. I fail to see how having fewer items in storage will make them less appealing to thieves. But the one thing I am sure of is that my possessions have not doubled every year. In this evil age of materialism, I bet students own lots of worthless junk. But if any student has in fact seen his collection of stuff grow exponentially during his time here, I’d like to know how he got the biggest room on campus.
In an e-mail, the council justified the new code, explaining, “A recent survey of the other Ivy League colleges indicates that even with the new regulations, Yale’s storage policies are the most liberal both in terms of allowable storage and cost.” Basically, the council used a comparison to downgrade Yale’s services. I always thought that Yale prided itself on treating students better than other top-flight universities. (As an aside, I know of colleges that actually furnish their dorms, making their students’ need for storage of couches and chairs moot.)
The e-mail continued, “In the coming years we hope students will take storage limitations into account when deciding which items to bring to Yale.” That’s all well and good for incoming freshmen. But why punish current students? I imagine many students have kept their property in the dorms, on the belief that they could store it as they have in the past. Most of the off-campus storage space has already been taken by students from Southern Connecticut State University and Quinnipiac College. Those students were prepared to store their belongings off campus. The Council of Masters lacked foresight and gave Yale students a scant two week notice.
Furthermore, why should one storage quota apply to every college? It is inherent in the nature of the residential college system that each college has different strengths. Certainly, some colleges do not have adequate facilities to accommodate all of the student’s possessions. But one of the advantages of living in Morse is the abundance of storage space. Why must we be subjected to the constraints of other colleges? Should Berkeley College not be allowed to use their basketball court because Morse does not have one? Are we so inept that we cannot devise a system for ourselves that would suit our needs appropriately? Such an untimely attempt at equality among colleges seems wasteful.
It wouldn’t be as bad if Yale actually helped its students with the transition. But colleges are forbidden from assisting their students monetarily. So although you were once allowed to store items in your college during the summers, now that the masters have locked the doors of usable rooms, you get the privilege of writing a check to some warehouse in Derby and paying another $18 to your favorite mom-and-pop franchise, Barnes and Noble. The council could and should have done much better.
Jeremiah Quinlan is a junior in Morse College.