Administration's Failure to Guarantee Housing Worries Apartment-Hunter

As if entering a large university for the first time were not nerve-racking and torturous enough, the freshman class of 2000 also faces the difficulty of finding housing next fall. The class is guaranteed housing on campus for only one year, as opposed to the traditional two years.

With 2001 already in swing, there is only so much time for freshmen such as myself to find out where we are supposed to live next year. Whether it be on campus, in an apartment 30 miles away from campus or — dare I say it — in a cardboard box, no freshman is sure of next year’s living arrangement.

According to the housing administration, the reason for this unfortunate restriction is due to the fact that admission and enrollment at UCSD have increased, while available housing for this large number of students has decreased.

Without space in the dormitories and apartments for all students, the administration has been forced to subtract a guaranteed year of housing. In fact, space has been so limited in the past year that three people are routinely put into two-person rooms, which was the case with my apartment at Marshall college.

Another reason for the loss of a two-year housing guarantee is that there would be no room to house the incoming freshman class of 2001, which is also going to be guaranteed housing for just one year.

The question all the freshman are probably asking is, “”How will it be determined who gets to live on campus and who doesn’t?”” The answer is through the use of a lottery — luck of the draw — the specifics of which are yet to be mapped out.

According to the housing administration, those who have housing this year will most likely have a place to live on campus next year, but the possibility of being denied a space remains. In other words, where some freshmen live next year is pretty much up in the air.

With all due respect, it seems that this housing fiasco is more of a problem than anyone wants to acknowledge or believe. While it may be true that most of the currently housed students would get a chance to live on campus again, there are also those poor souls who are going to have to find somewhere else to live. And in case anyone has forgotten, this is the community of La Jolla, where apartments don’t exactly come as cheaply as what a starving college student can afford.

Frankly, if UCSD admissions is planning to take an excess of students into the university, then it should also provide them with a place to live on campus for a minimum of two years. It is the responsibility of admissions and housing to collaborate and guarantee housing to students for their freshman and sophomore years.

If space is limited, then it is time to consider solutions other than a random lottery. For instance, why not just limit the number of freshmen admitted every year, or build new dorms and apartments as fast as the parking structures are being built?

I don’t know about anyone else, but I still have trouble finding my way around campus, and I live here. One more year on campus would help me familiarize myself with the campus completely. It would also be a way for me to save the money I would otherwise spend on an off-campus apartment and its necessities, such as furniture and gas and electric bills. As a freshman, I would want the security and satisfaction of knowing that I would have a place on campus next year.

There remains the issue of picking people for housing spaces through this so-called lottery drawing. It would be completely unfair for some to get lucky and receive housing, and for the misfortunate others to get screwed over and be kicked out of the chance for on-campus housing. Because most of us pay the same amount in tuition, excepting those with financial aid or scholarships, shouldn’t we all be entitled to the same chance for housing?

Freshmen will really worry about where they are going to live next year. With such limited space, it is impossible for all current freshmen to be housed for another year, but a lottery is not exactly a fair and negotiatable way to decide who should live on campus.

While the housing administration may seem to have everything under control, it won’t be long before the complaints and worries kick in. I know I am already starting to stress out about my possible living situation as a sophomore. With space so limited and admissions so high, who knows if even first-year housing will be guaranteed in the future?

With the complex and mind-boggling situation at hand, and with all our futures at stake, there is only one more thing to say to the freshman class: Let the apartment hunting begin!