Honors students lose spots in Straz

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Following an administrative decision made last Thursday, a living-learning community program for second-year honors students titled “Ethics in Theory and Practice” will be discontinued after this year.

Some honors students have said the program was popular because it guaranteed participating students housing in Straz Tower, a perk which will be eliminated along with the program.

Amelia Zurcher, associate professor of English and director of the honors program, sent an email to all first-year honors students last Thursday explaining why the program will no longer be offered. Zurcher said the ethics program is being discontinued for academic and structural reasons.

“Much is to be gained by honors students in getting to know students outside the program,” she said. “Some honors sophomores remain in Straz (not on honors floors, which exist only for first-year students), and many move elsewhere.”

She said incoming honors students will continue to be offered the option to live in Straz their first year on campus, although second-year students will not be given the guarantee. In the past, the living-learning community has accepted 25 applicants.

“The honors program worked with Residence Life several years ago to establish a first-year living-learning community for all first-year honors students who wanted to participate,” she said. “We continue to believe that this first-year community helps create an enriched academic experience for honors students and establishes social ties with others also in the program.”

Haley Jones, a freshman in the College of Business Administration and member of the honors program, said the program was especially popular because sophomores liked to continue living in Straz. Jones said she would have applied to the program had it not been discontinued.

“I have heard several people who said they joined the ETP program and then dropped out of honors because they had only wanted to be guaranteed a place in Straz Tower,” she said.

There are 79 honors students in the Straz living-learning community, some of whom are disappointed that the sophomore living-learning community will no longer be offered.

Emmali Hanson, a freshman in the College of Engineering and honors participant, said she was suprised about the decision.

“I was unaware of the problems with it,” she said. “And I was extremely disappointed, because I was planning on applying to the program, because I really enjoy the community we have developed this year. It will be hard to continue these relationships without living together.”

Hanson said she would like to continue to live in Straz Tower for other reasons.

“It’s not just about the perks of it being a good dorm fit with many amenities, but it is because of the community that our floors have created together,” she said. “I would like to have an honors floor even if it was in another dorm besides Straz.”

Hanson said she will miss living with her honors program peers.

“I don’t know if I will get to experience the many joys that come with having a close group of friends that can study nightly together and have fun at the same time,” she said.

Jones said joining the honors program and living in Straz Tower had been the best decision she has made so far at Marquette.

“It’s not really about the building itself, though I love Straz, but the opportunity to live with others who are taking your classes and typically have the same mindset as you,” she said.

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