Earlier this semester, students participating in the Global Student Teacher program were informed that they would lose housing upon their return to the College during the spring semester.
The conflict was recently resolved, but not all students have been pleased with the solution.
According to Chris Farrell, assignments coordinator for the office of Residential and Community Development, students who participated in the program were traditionally moved into whatever housing was available upon their return midway through the semester.
In the past, the program has been very small, and the College has had no problems finding housing for all students seeking it.
However, this year there are many more students in need of housing, and the College had to make sure that there would be enough bed for them all.
“In the past, there have traditionally been only a handful of residential students participating in the Global Student Teaching program, but this year, the program has expanded,” Farrell said. According to him, there are 20 students participating in the program this year.
“They say the confusion has happened because there was such a spike in the number of participants this year,” Keri Benton, a senior art education major who is going abroad, said in an e-mail several days before the issue was resolved.
To compensate, students have been given two choices. One is that they can cancel their current housing contract and begin a new one next semester, which would exempt them from paying for housing the eight weeks they spend abroad.
However, it would also place them into a random room upon their return, similar to the solution used for all participants when the program was smaller.
“In the past, we have always moved (the students) to other housing assignments upon their return,” Farrell said.
A student can also choose to retain their contract and their room, but they will be forced to pay for room and board at the College during the time that they are studying abroad, despite their absence.
The process was influenced at least partly by the concern of the involved students.
According to Farrell, several visited his office in search of information about the problem, and voiced their concerns.
“(The office of Residence Life (ORCD)) has met with most of us and has been relatively understanding so far. They realize we are in a special circumstance,” Benton said.
While most students are glad to have the conflict resolved, many are unhappy with the answers the College came up with.
“To say the least, I am very disappointed. I waited 3 years to live in the townhouses with my friends and now they’re going to take that away from me,” Laura Munice, senior early childhood education and sociology major, said.
“They did solve the problem to the best of their ability but I am still going to choose to live at home,” Michele Weight senior English/secondary education major, said.
She also said that while she didn’t like the option of either paying for a full semester or getting a random housing assignment, she doesn’t blame ORCD for the problem, but rather the pressure between pleasing students and making money at the College.
Even though the official resolution has been passed, concerned students can still speak with ORCD about any issues they have.
“I will continue to assist the Global Student Teachers to the best of my ability in the coming weeks,” Farrell said.
Many of the involved students felt that the problem and its unsatisfactory resolution were not due to any specific people or departments, but the disorganization that has plagued the College in all of its projects, from the Global Student Teaching program to the Metzger Drive apartments.
“I feel as though after so many years of having this program in place, everyone involved would be slightly more organized and have plans for situations like this,” Weight said.