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Students will have the right to return to their College

Posted by on Friday, November 28, 2014 in Moore, News, Warren.

This is a guest post by Doug Fisher, Faculty Director of Warren College.

Over Thanksgiving break, a Warren resident told me that some Warren and Moore students were confused on the rules regarding whether rising juniors and rising seniors would be able to stay at Warren or Moore, respectively. The answer is “YES!”, unless a student works hard at being removed.

As the College Halls Web pages indicate:

“Once students enter Warren or Moore college in their sophomore year, they can remain in the same college as juniors and seniors.” (

This expectation of continuing through senior year also applies to those who enter Warren or Moore as Juniors (which will be relatively few in the years to come).

The motivation for promoting continuity in each college’s community is straightforward and common to other residential college systems (e.g., UC Santa Cruz, Rice University, Yale College):

“This residential option conveys the ambience of a small college community, while still affording students an education at a world-class research university with a wide variety of undergraduate academic programs.” (

Warren and Moore aren’t just buildings — they are communities — and communities don’t boot people out without good cause. Students can, of course, opt to leave Warren or Moore, and enter into other Vanderbilt housing options.

Importantly, Warren and Moore aren’t interchangeable — if you are a member of the Warren community, there is nothing that privileges you above any other Vanderbilt student if you want to enter Moore (nor vice versa).

The vision of College Halls as small residential communities within larger academic institutions are much older than Vanderbilt’s College Halls, but this vision is affirmed in a series of reports that paved the way for College Halls ( Here are some quotes from one of those reports (

“In College Halls, any member of the college may choose to remain in a subsequent year. Under a self-governance model, however, the community of a given college may choose to consider a given disruptive student’s strong negative impact on the community and prohibit his/her return, mirroring McGill’s “concern for community” measure.”

In sum, you have a right to stay, unless you work at being told not to return.

“(The Faculty Director is asked to adjudicate if too many students are asked not to return; this should be a rare exception to our campus process.)”

The Faculty Director’s role as “adjudicator” is made clear here. But “who” has asked the “too many students not to return”? The report does not say directly, but the context suggests “the community”, presumably of students, through their reports to staff.

“We may also look ahead to the revisions needed for the second round of selections, given the premise that students will have the right to return to their College. “

The first phrase in this statement is about selection of NEW students to College Halls (and the topic of a post I’ll be making to this blog soon), but the second phrase clearly says “the right” to return (and its the phrase that I’ve used as the title of this post).

As this quote also suggests, if residents in the Warren and Moore living and learning communities have a right to stay once here, some advocate that there be a revision to the first year’s application process, which only required a passive checking of boxes.

What the College Halls Task Force reports ( say about the issues of new applicants, squatting in the same room, and the nature of the Warren and Moore living and learning communities will be topics of posts soon. These reports don’t put a hard limit on what Warren and Moore can become (indeed, they acknowledge that the College Halls vision will evolve), but they do represent hard work by dedicated people, and so deserve a close look for the potential guidance they provide.

**This guest post reflects Doug’s opinions, and not necessarily those of Vanderbilt University.

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