New Class Finds Cramped Quarters

    With the arrival of UCSD’s overenrolled, record-size 2006-07 freshman class, university officials have put the final touches on lengthy summer housing projects designed to accommodate the influx of on-campus residents, including converting numerous two-person rooms into three-person rooms and refurbishing residences universitywide.

    Kunal Sukhija/Guardian
    From left, freshman Allison Johnston, her mother and freshmen Serena Sukhija and Kat Formosa discuss the best way to organize their “plus-one space” in overenrolled John Muir College.

    According to Assistant Vice Chancellor of Admissions and Registration Mae W. Brown, UCSD originally projected a freshman class of 4,150 students and a transfer class of 1,500 students.

    However, after the university received 400 more statements of intent to register from freshmen than expected, the administration was forced to alter housing plans in order to satisfy UCSD’s guaranteed-housing contracts, which are valid for two years and give eligible freshmen and sophomores spaces to reside on campus.

    At John Muir College, where overenrollment was most severe, Tioga Hall received a $5-million facelift to accommodate the incoming residents, according to Muir Dean of Student Affairs Patty Mahaffey.

    “The entire hall was gutted,” Mahaffey said.

    The building was repainted, the bathrooms redone and rooms that were altered to house three students were given new armoires and desks. In addition, the building was updated to obey fire codes and disabled-access laws.

    In total, Muir will include 145 “plus-one spaces,” or rooms that were converted to triples, as well as 180 single rooms and 43 double rooms, Mahaffey said.

    Some students will also be housed in hallway storage rooms that have been converted into living spaces, although Mahaffey said efforts would be underway to relocate students who have been housed in those rooms if additional space becomes available.

    Many students have even been relocated to other colleges for living arrangements. Revelle College is currently housing 166 Muir freshmen, according to Mahaffey, and Black Hall in Earl Warren College will serve as home to numerous Muir sophomores.

    The university will attempt to relieve dorm overcrowding by reducing the number of students housed in triple rooms over the course of the year as spaces open for various reasons, including instances where students decide to leave UCSD or otherwise terminate their housing contracts.

    “Students who are placed in triples will be untripled as permanent spaces open up by their college residence life offices,” UCSD Housing and Dining Services Director Mark P. Cunningham stated in an e-mail. “Otherwise, they will remain in their assigned room in most cases.”

    The Student Affairs office has allocated additional money to all six colleges, according to Mahaffey, with $250 extra given to each house in Muir.

    However, the university still does not know if it will receive more state funding to accommodate the student influx.

    “We are working within the current funding provided to UCSD,” Brown stated in an e-mail. “The distribution of overenrollment funds will not occur until later in the year if at all.” 

    Although the unexpected number of incoming students has undoubtedly affected university housing, Brown stated that UCSD has made every effort to provide sufficient fall-quarter class offerings and that no freshman should expect his or her degree-attainment time to be affected.

    “In a small number of cases students may have to wait until winter quarter to take some classes, but there should be a sufficient number of seats in classes for all students to carry full loads,” Brown stated.

    Mahaffey said that Muir has added eight additional sections to the Muir College Writing Program, and that the lack of classroom space was the main factor in not adding more.

    “There are lots of students who got the classes they wanted, and there are also lots of waitlisted students,” Mahaffey said. “It’s kind of a mixed bag.”

    Although space in housing and classes has been crunched, the extra students are a welcome addition, Mahaffey said.

    “Muir’s a very popular college, but we just didn’t realize how popular,” she said. “It’s a compliment.”

    Readers can contact Matthew McArdle at [email protected].

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