Sophomore ‘squatting’ right discussed at RHA forum

Students voiced their concerns about squatting priveleges of sophomores currently living in Townhouses and expressed their continued displeasure with Dining Services last week at the Residential Housing Association (RHA) open forum.

The new housing policy will allow current sophomores who live in Townhouses West to remain in these highly sought after residence halls next year.

“It is unfair and unnecessary to change the current policy and allow sophomores to squat on their townhouses,” Ben Abruzzo, junior mechanical engineering major, said.

Under the previous housing policy, only rising seniors were allowed to “squat” on their place of residence.

“Squatting” is a term used at the College to signify returning to your room in the next academic year. In order for a student to “squat” he or she must make one of the two cuts in the upcoming housing lottery. This year the cuts take place on Mar. 15 and 21.

It was suggested at the forum that rising juniors should only be allowed to squat once, limiting their stay in a particular residence hall for no more than two years.

“I think that’s fair and it will definitely be looked into,” Jessica Fellmeth, president of RHA and senior biology major, said.

Students who do no not make either of the cuts in the housing lottery will be at the mercy of a waiting list, which does not guarantee anything. If students are granted housing from this list, they may not find out about it until a week or two before classes begin, leaving them in housing limbo for most of the summer.

“The people that are getting screwed are the rising juniors (current sophomores) who are not living in townhouses,” Rachel Boyle, sophomore biology major, said. “These students not only have to make the cut, but they have to make the cut ahead of the people who squat.”

According to Fellmeth, with the Metzger apartments fiasco, all students who were promised a room in these apartments, which were never completely constructed, are granted priority housing, meaning that they will automatically make the cut in the upcoming housing lottery.

Students at the forum were concerned that many of the upperclassman residence halls will already be taken by seniors who have priority housing and rising juniors who are currently living in Townhouses West, before the rest of the rising juniors get to choose where they want to live next year.

This is assuming that many of rising juniors currently living in Townhouses make the cut and squat on their widely desired Townhouses.

Additionally, dining halls will no longer accept a student’s social security or identification number in place of swiping their ID card for security related reasons.

Therefore, students who lose their ID card may be forced to pay with cash or find some other alternative method for obtaining food until they are issued a new card. A temporary ID was suggested to resolve this potential problem.

Students also complained that the quality and variety of the food provided by the College’s dining service, Sodexho, continues to be unsatisfactory.

“Sodexho is very unresponsive to special dining needs of certain students,” Abruzzo said. “It seems like they’ve shifted their emphasis to Eickhoff, and the remaining dining places have suffered.”

Vegetarians, for example, are extremely limited in their dining options and there are few health-conscious items to choose from with no low-fat options available. Late night dining is even more limited because Eickhoff Dining Hall closes at 8 p.m., leaving students with few options at Travers/Wolfe Dining Hall.

Students at the forum said that they should be provided with better food for the money they are paying. “You’re paying for all you can eat, but you can’t have what you want,” Fellmeth said.

Similarly, students at the forum said they are unhappy with the layout of the dining tables at Eickhoff Dining Hall. The students complained that they are too close together, sometimes making it uncomfortable to have dinner with friends.