Students asked for feedback on proposed housing cutbacks

When John Stafford, director of Residence Life, came to the College several years ago, the office began a review of all its policies and procedures, including guaranteed housing, a process that is still ongoing. Stafford described the changes as “philosophical” in nature.

Four groups applied for guaranteed housing spots this year, and all four are being denied after a review by the Residence Hall Association (RHA) and the Residence Life office. Stafford would not release the names of the organizations, citing “ethical concerns,” but left it up to the groups to contact the press, none of which opted to do so.

Organizations seeking guaranteed housing must submit an application to Residence Life and RHA for review, but it is Stafford who, ultimately, makes the final decision, according to Lisa McCarthy, assistant director of Residence Life.

A set of guidelines for groups applying for guaranteed housing were created by RHA. These guidelines examine whether or not a group provides a service that would be affected by students living off-campus.

“As for now, we’ve made no fundamental changes,”Stafford said. However, it remains unclear what changes could potentially be coming in the future.

“This is a service we do for the students,” Stafford added. “We want their feedback of how this process should take place. Professionally speaking, though, all students should have an equal chance to get housing.”

In total, there are 2,120 spots available for upperclassmen, including sophomores, who are all guaranteed housing. According to numbers provided by Stafford, in a typical year, a little over 1,100 of those spaces will go to sophomores.

The number of spots allocated to groups hovers around 500, leaving approximately 960 open spots for juniors and seniors in any given year for an estimated 1,250 applicants.

“It’s important to remember though,” Stafford said, “not all the groups use all their guaranteed spots.”

Jennifer Boutros, president of the Society of Honor Students, feels that members in such organizations should be guaranteed housing.

“I think we are a very important part of the school,” she said.

“In my experience working with other schools, guaranteed housing is something that only happens, usually, for medical reasons,” Stafford said.

“Before we move to make any changes, I want to know how the students feel,” Stafford added. “But so far, there’s no formal process for review happening currently.”