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Room and board increase is not justified

Observer Viewpoint | Tuesday, February 22, 2005

It occurred to us when a rather large piece of wall fell to the ground after shutting a door that we might be paying a bit too much for room and board at Notre Dame. In light of the 7 percent increase in tuition and room and board, we thought it necessary to expound upon the living conditions at Notre Dame, particularly in Morrissey.

Morrissey has the least square footage per person on campus and the highest cost per square foot. Exactly what are we paying for? We don’t expect any improvements or changes to be made, unless, of course, “Link, the College Magazine” pronounces Morrissey to be the worst college dormitory in the United States again – as they did in 1996.

Only after this article did the University fix various problems ranging from a rat carcass in a basement shower head to electrical wiring stapled to the ceiling in plane sight. These are problems that the University should be expected to fix without the prodding of an independent magazine. Water that smells like rotten eggs (or worse) and walls that are literally falling apart are just a couple of the many problems that need to be addressed and, from past experience, we doubt the higher cost will do anything to solve them.

We know that we are extremely lucky to be attending this University and that we did choose to come here (and would do so again), but parents and students should expect more for their money.

We are proud to be Manorites, but many of us see the sham that is the high cost of room and board. Therefore, many of us will be moving to larger and more cost-efficient off-campus housing.

Something is wrong when students move off campus to save money. Continuous increments in the cost of room and board without any direct benefit going to the students is suspect at best. The claim that tuition and room and board costs are justified when compared to a Princeton or Harvard is an unacceptable argument, especially when considering that the cost of living in northern Indiana is much less than in the Northeast.

We want a Notre Dame that is fair to its students and whose tuition policies are not determined by another campus hundreds of miles away. One of the more popular sentiments around here is that Notre Dame is more than just a place where one comes to get an education, but that it is a family. Administrators must not take “the Notre Dame family” idea very seriously, because with these annual tuition hikes they are hanging their children out to dry.

Robert Byrne, Jeff Spieldenner


Morrissey Hall

Feb. 20