ASUnity canceled for 2014-15 school year due to low interest

Joshua Farmer

ASUnity, a residential learning community centered on social justice issues relating to gender and sexual orientation, has been canceled for the 2014-15 school year.

The ASUnity RLC failed to reach the intended number of returning students stated in their agreement with University Housing, according to an article in The Appalachian on Feb. 27.

Sociology professor and member of the ASUnity leadership team Amy Dellinger-Page said the leadership team was informed of the final and official decision last week.

Page said that housing told the leadership team that the RLC was canceled due to a lack of interest and low registration numbers.

“We are unaware of any other RLC being canceled the same year it was accepted due to low numbers,” Page said. “Other RLCs have continued for at least the first year with very low enrollments and were only canceled in subsequent years for continued low enrollment.”

Director of Housing and Residence life Tom Kane said that in his time at Appalachian, an RLC has never been canceled as ASUnity has. Some RLCs have only needed a few more students, but

ASUnity did not meet 50 percent of their target.

“Usually, if anything, they at least make numbers and sometimes they exceed their numbers,” Kane said.

Kane said that he hopes the RLC tries again next year.

Housing has contacted the eight students who had signed up to live in the RLC and has given them the option to remain on the floor, but is also working with students who signed up but now would like to live in a suite-style or apartment-style housing.

There were a couple of pending applications to live in the RLC from freshman, however not enough to make the number, Kane said.

Kane said there is not a lot of activity with freshman and RLCs until they have attended orientation where they learn more about their housing options.

Graduate Assistant in the LGBT Center Mark Rasdorf said he was disappointed to hear that ASUnity was canceled.

“By having the RLC part of the larger group of RLCs on campus, it creates a voice for people and a learning opportunity for people who care about those issues, and it also shows Appalachian’s commitment to a dialogue and a learning community dedicated to those issues,” Rasdorf said. “It sort of says these things are important in our world, and on our campus, and to our students.”

Rasdorf thinks the low numbers may have been due to a misconception that the RLC was a lifestyle floor when in actuality it was a learning floor.

Page said that the leadership team did not support the decision to cancel the RLC.

“We had been told all along that Housing would back-fill the rooms that weren’t filled by members of ASUnity,” Page said. “This communication changed in late February when they began telling us they would cancel the RLC if numbers were insufficient.”

Page said the ASUnity leadership team fully intends to try again next year and plans to meet at the end of the summer to develop marketing for current students.

Story: STEPHANIE SANSOUCY, Senior News Reporter