College housing emphasized in local meeting

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September 15, 2009

2:51 AM

On-campus housing, fraternity housing and town-gown relations are major concerns for the College of William and Mary administration this year, Vice President for Student Affairs Ginger Ambler ’88 Ph.D. ’06 told area residents at the Neighborhood Council of Williamsburg’s monthly meeting Saturday.

Ambler, the NCW’s featured speaker this month, answered questions from residents on those topics and others.

After introducing herself, Ambler also discussed her responsibilities in the Student Affairs Office, which include residence life, campus events, student activities and some facilities management.

Ambler outlined her top priorities for the year: graduate student affairs, developing a strategic plan and the construction of the new Career Center. The majority of her discussion focused on housing and town-gown relations.

“Expanding our residential capacity … continues to be a major focus for us,” Ambler said. “We’ve talked about a 200 to 250-person facility. We are continuing to look at that.”

Fraternity housing is a specific issue the administration hopes to tackle, she said.

“Our fraternity housing complex really doesn’t meet the needs of the students who live there right now,” she said. “They’re large facilities; they were built in the ’60s or ’70s at a time when fraternities were larger.”
Ambler said she is working with the Council on Fraternity Affairs to determine what can be done about housing issues.

“Short- and long-term solutions for the fraternity housing situation are a priority of mine, and a priority of the president as well,” she said.

Improving town-gown relations is another of the administration’s top priorities.

“All of us, from the president on down, including our student leadership, is committed to seeing some improvement in town-gown relations this year,” Ambler said.

One resident asked if the College had a hotline for neighbors to call regarding the behavior of student renters.

“The Virginia Gazette has talked a lot about a hotline. We don’t have a hotline number, we don’t have the staff to monitor a hotline and we’re not inclined to operate a hotline,” Ambler said. “The College is ready to step in and to offer assistance when other strategies are not working or when there’s repeated behavior that is concerning neighbors. So there isn’t a number a neighbor can call at 2 o’clock in the morning if something loud is happening next door. That’s an opportunity for neighbors and residents to hopefully have had a conversation and to try and address that one-on-one in a personal way, and if the behavior is outrageous or out of control, that’s the job of the police.”

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