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Trustees vote for 500-student increase

In a landmark vote, the University Board of Trustees approved at its April meeting the Wythes committee's recommendation to increase the size of the undergraduate student body by 500 — finalizing a decision that prompted almost three years of deliberation and elicited considerable campus debate.

The increase is the first significant change in the size of the student body since the trustees approved coeducation more than 30 years ago. It will be phased in during a four-year period, beginning in 2003 or 2004, once the necessary facilities and living spaces have been constructed, committee chair Paul Wythes '55 said.


"[They] were very receptive," Wythes said of the trustees' reaction to his committee's proposal. "The resolution approved not just the student body increase, but the report in its totality."

The Wythes report also called for the construction of a sixth residential college to house the additional students. After the report was made public in January, the University hired an architectural planning firm to evaluate possible locations for the new college. The firm's preliminary findings were presented to the trustees in an extended interim report, according to University Vice President and Secretary Thomas Wright '62.

During a presentation at the April meeting, the architects identified eight possible sites for the new college. The trustees later narrowed this list to four and directed the planning firm to conduct further research.

Locations still under consideration are the areas south of Dillon Gym, west of Poe Field along Elm Drive, north of Forbes and north of McCarter Theater, according to Wythes.

Wright said the most likely spot for construction is the area south of Dillon Gym and west of the tennis courts. One possibility would be to build "not just on the path, but construct a building that would go down the west side of the tennis courts next to Spelman," Wright said. "It would snake north-south like Little. They could also slip some buildings next to it."

Wright noted that because a full residential college could not be constructed in that area, the University would most likely use buildings in several different locations instead of one large site.


In May, the trustees approved a faculty committee to oversee the implementation of the Wythes plan, but did not make any decisions about the location of the sixth residential college, board of trustees president Robert Rawson '66 said.

Wythes said the final resolution passed by the trustees included several amendments that addressed concerns raised by students and faculty during the spring semester.

One significant amendment to the original report was that the administration will be required to work in conjunction with the faculty to implement the student body size increase, he said. In the original document, the administration had sole power over implementing the plan.

The approved resolution does not recommend an increase in the size of the faculty beyond the one-percent annual growth rate currently scheduled through 2004, Wright said.

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"If you project faculty growth to the time when the new size of the student body will be fully realized, there will have been an eight-percent increase in faculty size," he noted.

The trustees are recommending that future faculty positions be allocated to departments that attract significant numbers of undergraduates, Wythes explained. "There will be additional [faculty positions] for those departments that are more popular," he said.