Slight Hall tends to be a controversial topic around The Master’s College campus. Situated halfway up the hill of dorms, it is different than its surrounding five neighbors. Students debate the validity of the dorm stereotype and the wisdom of putting six guys in one room. They debate the benefits and disadvantages of living in the apartment-style rooms.
But one thing is never debated: girls don’t live in Slight. Until now.
Last summer, the school’s administration realized that their prayers for higher enrollment had been answered in ways they never expected. There was an exceeding amount of students set to attend TMC in the fall. After the realization that female enrollment numbers were greater than the current women’s dorms could hold, they sought other alternatives. Upper administration decided to turn the lower front wing of Slight into a continuation of Dixon Hall.
The announcement of girls invading Slight came as a shock to students. The reactions were mixed, but an uncertainty of how the new situation would unfold was present in everyone’s mind.
The guys had very strong opinions about women occupying their territory. Chevy Gilliam, the Resident Assistant of Slight Upper Front, was concerned that it would change the dynamics of how the dorm functioned and how events such as Tuesday night’s “Mancakes” would look with the new addition of women.
“My initial reaction was ‘What the heck? This is Slight. Get out of here.’ I thought it would be interesting but it wasn’t super favorable in my mind,” Gilliam said. “Everyone was shocked, and some people thought it was just a joke. I don’t think anyone has been negative about it, but it was just weird at first. People weren’t sure what it was going to look like.”
The new living arrangements were not ideal for the girls either. Not only were they living across the street from their dorm, but they were aware that the guys may not be excited about having them in lower front Slight, and were anxious to see how it would play out.
“At first, I didn’t know how well it was going to go. I didn’t think that the guys would really want us there,” said Kim Vowels, RA of Dixon Lower Slight. “But then when we all moved in, the guys really cared for us. They helped us move in and move things around. So that changed how I thought it would be.”
Amidst campus-wide uncertainty, there was one girl who was thrilled at this prospect from its outset. Karis Ebner, 5, the daughter of the Resident Director of Slight Jake Ebner, found out before the start of the school year that she would have other girls as neighbors.
“I really like it. I always go talk with them and sometimes they play with me. I’ll be really sad if they move back,” Ebner said.
The eight Slight ladies enjoy being the Ebner’s neighbors and always welcome a play date with the Ebner girls. In addition, the apartment-style living arrangements have been a welcome change from cookie cutter dorm rooms.
“I think the girls have loved being able to make it home, maybe more than you can with a dorm room,” said RaeAnna Seaton, Resident Director for Dixon Hall. “The neat thing about Dixon Lower Slight is that they have become their own entity, even though they are still a part of Dixon.”
This is not the first instance where dorms have switched identities. Although it is rare, Slight and other dorms have adapted in past years with changes in enrollment.
Hotchkiss Lower Front on the men’s side spent some time as a women’s wing, and Waldock Hall was entirely flipped to serve as a women’s dorm at one point. C.W. Smith Hall was constructed with each wing connecting to a common lounge area, allowing all wings to have the option of housing men or women at any given time.
As for the future of Dixon Lower Slight, the girls currently living there wonder if they will experience this uncommon opportunity again, while the guys are curious if they will reclaim lower front as their own next year.
“It all depends on enrollment. You never know until it’s down to the wire,” said Seaton. “It’s a possibility to have Dixon Lower Slight again, but there’s nothing set in stone, and there won’t be until much, much closer.”
By Desi Buchanan