Morrison Hall to close in Fall 2020


Karlee Van De Venter for The Easterner

Kailani Kennedy and Andrick Carroll studying for finals in the LLC pre-health lounge.

By Karlee Van De Venter, News Reporter

As part of a university-wide restructuring, the Housing Department has announced they will be closing Morrison Hall and all Living Learning Communities starting in Fall 2020. This restructuring also affects academic departments, housing departments and even the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

“Right now the entire university is going through reorganization,” said Josh Scroggins, Residential Life coordinator of snyamncut.

Michelle Schultz, the university’s assistant director of Apartments and Facilities Operations referred to a “Housing Master Plan,” that is in the works, starting with the closure of Morrison Hall.

There are two main reasons the building is closing. Because of decreased enrollment numbers and national projections for next year, the building likely would have small numbers. Secondly, the closing of Morrison will open the door for changes that will improve campus living.

Freshmen students are required to live on campus their first year of school unless they live in the area already. Some students have shown mixed reactions to the policy | Bailey Monteith for The Easterner

“We believe now is the time to plan on how we can rightsize our system,” Schultz said. “By closing a building, we are committing to putting our resources into different facilities in a way which allows us to maximize our impact while we work toward our plan.”

By next fall quarter, students will not be able to live in Morrison. But it won’t be completely empty. “We are floating the idea of doing a couple of awesome events like laser tag or a haunted house in the fall,” Schultz said.

She said Morrison will mostly be repurposed or used to store usable items, with a potential for events.

Campus LLCs are under a different department than buildings, but still are affected by the restructuring. By next fall quarter, all LLCs will be shut down as well.

LLCs are a collaboration of a couple offices. One of the departments that LLCs answer to is Academic Affairs, which is seeing a lot of restructuring.

“Until Academic Affairs is finished with their reorganization, they have decided to focus on their reorganization and not support outside programs at the moment,” Scroggins said. Scroggins believes LLCs are just on pause for now, and will return once restructuring is done.

Currently, there are five LLCs operating: Explore, Leadership, Pre-health, STEM and Experience the Air.

“It’s hard to connect when you don’t have anything in common … the focus is more specific [in an LLC],” -Kale Shinagawa, junior and community advisor for the PreHealth LLC.

Residents walking down the hallway in an LLC know their neighbors have similar goals and passions, according to Shinagawa.

“Pre-Health majors are going to usually be taking the same prerequisites, and just seeing someone that you know in your class and living with them, you can study together, and it’s very convenient,” said Shinagawa.

Shinagawa said it’s easier to plan events in an LLC as well, because they have that common ground. They recently brought in a professor to share his career story with the wing, explaining what to expect next in the field and answering questions. Because majors are so similar across the LLC, she knew that would be beneficial to the residents.

First-year resident Jozlin Peterson is living in Shinagawa’s wing, Through the LLC, she has received tutoring for a difficult class, made friends and found her roommates for next year.

Peterson has found that she can relate to Shinagawa’s experiences, and loves having neighbors and a CA that are in the same boat as her.

“The nice thing about our floor is that everyone, for the most part, is interested in doing well in their classes because they have a goal,” Jozlin Peterson, First Year Resident

Shinagawa and Peterson spoke about a chemistry class that a lot of the residents have together, along with their CA, and they often go to each other for help.

Both value their experience in the LLC and consider it beneficial to their experience here. But at the end of the year, when they move out of the LLC, they won’t have the opportunity to move back in next year.

While many people are remaining hopeful it will be back soon, it is currently undetermined how long the program will be gone.

The restructuring is going to take time to complete, and it’s only getting started. Students can also expect differences in faculty, educational departments, and the colleges that make up EWU.

“They’re merging colleges together, they’re moving professors in different areas, they’re removing deans from positions and putting them in other places,” Scroggins said.