After a poor recruitment season, Interfaith House will lose its Type B status as a program house beginning in the fall due to a lack of residential members planning to live in the organization's space in Diman House.
Type B status carries with it exclusive access to the designated facilities in the building of residence, and can only be attained by an organization that has existed on campus for three years and has adequately fulfilled all of the program housing expectations.
Each of the two status types for program houses, Type A and Type B, carries "varying degrees of privilege and responsibility," according to Residential Council's Web site.
The 22-member requirement stipulated by ResCouncil and the Office of Residential Life technically applies to program houses of either classification, but, according to ResCouncil's Web site, houses with "an exceptional record of positive contributions may deserve flexibility in the application of these regulations."
Interfaith House, which President Monikah Schuschu '10 described as a "safe space where people can talk about religion," has always "been on the small side," she said.
During Interfaith House's six years as a program house, Schuschu added, membership was always near the 22 required residential members.
But this year, she said, "recruitment didn't go well" and by Super Deadline Day the organization had confirmation that membership was drastically smaller than it had been in the past. According to Schuschu, there will only be eight or nine students living in Interfaith House next year, which will drop the house to Type A status.
Because of the status downgrade, Interfaith will lose exclusive access to its kitchen, lounge and library beginning in the fall. It will retain preferred access to these spaces, Associate Director of Residential Life Natalie Basil wrote in an e-mail to The Herald, which means it will be allowed to reserve a space for any event the house sponsors. But other students living independently in Diman will now have access to what was formerly Interfaith House's kitchen, as well as the existing kitchen for independents.
The decreased membership has also translated into more available rooms for independents in Diman. According to Basil, ResLife was able to offer 10 extra rooms in the building in the housing lottery, increasing the number of independents living in Diman relative to members of Interfaith House and sorority Kappa Alpha Theta, also housed in the building.
Schuschu said the loss of these spaces is "definitely going to hurt us," adding that members of the house generally do a lot of cooking and that the library has traditionally served as a study space. Both the kitchen and the study area help build the community of Interfaith House, she said.
Schuschu added that members of Interfaith House had spoken with ResLife about retaining their exclusive access to the kitchen, but were denied.
But despite Interfaith's reduced membership, its mission to promote religious thought and dialogue among members and within the Brown community and its overall contribution to the campus will remain relatively unchanged, Schuschu said.
"Our main focus on discussion activities … will be there," she said, adding that, for the most part, Interfaith will continue to hold regular events.
Despite the setbacks of the status downgrade, Schuschu said of the decision, "it's not fun, but it's reasonable."
"They're doing what they can to help us," she said, adding that ResLife will be monitoring Interfaith closely over the next semesters to help the organization increase recruitment and regain Type B status.
According to Basil, ResCouncil and ResLife will team up to "assist Interfaith House in a recruitment plan," which will mean "meeting with house leadership, setting goals and assisting with visibility of house events," as well as serving as a support system for the members and leadership of the house.
"We are confident that Interfaith House will increase its membership in subsequent years and will move back to Type B status," Basil wrote.