Editorial

    Though Housing and Dining Services offers a two-year guarantee for on-campus housing, the surge in enrollment, demand and unforeseen construction delays has led to a housing shortage. Many freshmen and sophomores already find themselves forced to look for off-campus alternatives, not because they’re opting to be farther away from school, but rather because of frustration with a system that promises two years of housing, but fulfills that promise with near-unlivable conditions.

    In order to receive on-campus housing, students are being asked to triple in rooms that were not meant to accommodate more than two. Part desperate measure to generate vacancy, part scare tactic to encourage a search for off-campus housing, such demands indicate that a re-evaluation of promises made to incoming students about their upcoming living situation is needed.

    Living on campus is an intrinsically valuable part of the college experience, allowing students from different backgrounds, ethnicities and heritages to meet outside the classroom environment. Friendships and bonds are formed through the collective experience of living and working in an on-campus community. Losing that critical aspect of social interaction is not only damaging to the experience of the individual student, but also to the character of the university itself.

    If housing and dining services must resort to desperate measures, it could at least be more practical in what promises are made to incoming students. Clearly, admissions will continue to increase, and current plans to increase on-campus living spaces cannot possibly keep up with even conservative estimates of student population. If students who were guaranteed housing but elected to live off-campus were given financial compensation for for their choice — as was done three years ago — it could significantly lessen demand for on-campus housing and better everyone’s living experience.

    The university is under no obligation to provide housing for the duration of a student’s education nor to ensure a fulfilling social agenda. But it is obligated to make good on promises made, and under current administrative plans, that simply is not possible.

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