Res Life “not just putting students in beds”

As the annual rush to coordinate on-campus housing consumes student life at the College, the discontent of upperclassmen rings strong. The most heated discussion around campus seems to surround the upcoming housing situations for juniors and seniors.

In response to the realization that only one of three apartment complexes anticipated to house students for Fall 2004 will be completed on time, upperclassmen are very frustrated with the circumstances.

According to Lynda Rothermel, project architect and project manager of the new apartments, the timeline anticipated for completion of the three apartment units was affected by weather conditions.

“We’ve had a lot of complications,” Rothermel said. “We’ve had a bad winter which affected all projects on campus, including the apartments.”

One apartment, with the capacity to house 200 students, will be ready to house upperclassmen by August 2004.

According to John Stafford, director of Residence Life, students who desire to live in the additional two buildings will follow the regular routine for on campus housing. They will be assigned rooms in the apartments and sign contracts as performed in the past.

Following this process, these students will then choose rooms in Norsworthy, previously a freshman dorm, and Centennial, previously sophomore housing.

“I don’t think its fair for students who decided to live on campus,” Christine Guzman, junior international business major, said. “They’re going to have to change plans. I think it’s inconsiderate not to house them in the better facilities; they’ve been here longer.”

“We’re not just putting students in beds,” Stafford said in response to the placement of upperclassmen in Norsworthy and Centennial. “Every time one thing changes, it’s a domino affect which impacts many other aspects.”

Stafford stated that the office of Residence Life attempts to accomplish various objectives in regards to housing. He referred to a number of goals his office desires, including maintaining the ability to offer a strong transition for the first year students as well as a greater retention rate for sophomores.

Nicole Kukawski, sophomore English major, was one of many students who expressed anger towards administration about the housing situation for next fall.

“I have to say that when housing options first came out for next year, I as well as a lot of my friends assumed all of the apartments would be done for next year,” Kukawski said.

“It wasn’t until I saw a letter sent home addressed to my parents . that I found out about it. The students are always very poorly informed,” she added.

According to Stafford, the information to update the college community about construction was sent home before the office of Residential Life was able to establish the precise impact such a setback would have on the housing situation on campus.

“It’s hard for us to get information and turn it out immediately,” Stafford responded. “A lot of analysis is necessary as well as number crunching. It was a matter of when we had the most valiant information.”

Stafford stated that until the office of Residential Life knew the total number of housing deposits paid by students were they able to significantly evaluate the situation.

During the Student Government Association (SGA) meeting on Wednesday, March 23, Brian Mulvihill, senator of Business, Chris Kuhn, senator of Culture and Society, and Dan Della Cerra, senator-at-large, proposed a resolution addressing the housing issue for next year.

In a memorandum distributed to SGA members, the resolution presented to be voted upon was an attempt “to make a friendly recommendation to the office of Residence Assignments stating (their) belief that Eickhoff, New Residence Hall and all townhouses should be made available to juniors and seniors as they have been in the past.”

“They promised us apartments to increase beds and then are rescinding on that promise, and not delivering,” Christopher Kuhn, sophomore political science major, said. “Instead (they are) offering up an unacceptable alternative, to live in first year student housing. I do not want to live where I lived freshman year again, as many upperclassmen expressed at the meeting.”

According to Stafford, juniors who chose to live in the two unfinished apartments will be placed in alternative housing for the fall, but will be able to squat their rooms for their senior year.

“(Upperclassmen) have been the brunt of a lot of change on this campus,” Aedin Fortune, junior elementary education/psychology major, said. “(But) the one thing that has been constant was at least we got better housing as we’re here longer . the possibility of seniors having to spend the first semester of their last year in the worst accommodation on campus is deplorable. I realize there is construction and sacrifices must be made. But why with the upperclassmen?”

The additional two apartment complexes have been pushed back to a mid December completion date, with the possibility of one of them being finished by October. According to Stafford, students who receive rooms in these apartments will be able to move in before the beginning of the spring semester.

Each apartment contains two double bedrooms, living room and bathroom, and is equipped with a full kitchen, central laundry facilities, lounge and courtyard.