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Thursday, January 25, 2007

January 25, 1979

In his report to the Board of Governors on January 25th 1979, Bill Matson is pleased to note that the construction on the new Champlain College residence facility that will house 315 students is well underway. Progress reports are being analyzed, and it appears the buildings will be ready for occupancy by July of 1979. At the same meeting Matson is asked by a faculty member from St Lambert why almost 20% of Champlain-Lennoxville students were on academic probation, or Article 30. Matson assures the member that he will get back to him with a response by the next meeting in February. But Matson misses the February meeting. He ruptures his spleen and is placed in a hospital.

If Matson didn’t know the answer to the member from St Lambert’s question, students did. Compton had such a spontaneous party atmosphere that it made it impossible for anyone to study. As one student put it, “Perhaps this is why the failure rate at Compton is substantially higher than on-campus students or those living off campus”.

On February 12th Champlain finally decides to address the Compton situation. A raid is called for and officers from the QPF’s Alcohol and Morality department arrest three students living in Gillard house. No one knows exactly what charges are laid against the students, but Director of Student Services, Gerald Cutting states that the School is, “trying to provide workshops whereby students learn to drink in moderation”.

Clearly Champlain just didn’t get it. The raid was mostly a symbolic gesture, timed to garner the College some good publicity. It was too little too late. As the case of the missing girl dragged on, some began to question Champlain’s accountability in the affair, and College officials wished they could just make the whole Compton situation go away.

February dragged into March. March slowly crept into April. Investigators watched and waited. Drip-drip-drip went the melting snow. And Champlain College eagerly awaited the completion of their new residence.


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