On-campus residents who feel threatened or unsafe in their current housing arrangement could have trouble finding another guaranteed room this year.
Renovations at West Quad Residence Hall are the main reason that emergency housing spots were reduced from six to four over the entire campus. Normally, University Housing reserves six rooms in different residence halls for students who can no longer live in their current rooms or with their current roommates, including two in the Cambridge House of West Quad that are currently closed for refurbishment.
Due to the full occupancy of residence halls and shortage of emergency spaces, hall directors were notified that roommate swapping would most likely not be an option for students this year. The full occupancy is a result of the over-enrollment of the freshman class, which resulted in the University offering second, third and fourth year students an option to reside in subsidized off-campus apartment buildings for the term to clear space in University Housing.
University Housing spokesman Peter Logan said the shortage of emergency housing has not posed a problem for on-campus residents so far.
“The number of freshmen we have right now living on campus hasn’t, at this time, impacted any situation where we need more emergency housing,” he said. “Right now what we have right now we feel is adequate, and if for any reason it isn’t then we will work with the Dean of Students office to find temporary housing.”
Many residential hall advisers have been adjusting to the lessened ability to room swap by placing greater emphasis on conflict resolution with roommates. According to LSA junior Zelin Wang, residential adviser in Stockwell Residence Hall, the residential staff are trained to try to resolve roommate complications through communication before offering the option of permanent or temporary relocation.
“In the past when there were more vacancies, we might be able to switch rooms or switch roommates,” Wang said. “Since we’ve become so tightly packed, we can’t really do that.”
Business junior Michael Zhou, who is also a residential adviser in Stockwell Residence Hall, said because of the extensive training the residential staff goes through to deal with all possible conflicts that could arise in residence halls, many roommate disputes are resolved within the halls themselves.
Logan said that it is up to the hall director’s discretion for whether or not a student needs to be separated from their room or roommates and into emergency housing.
Though Logan emphasized that over-enrollment has not impacted the lack of emergency housing and has not created any difficulties in replacing rooms at this time, many University administrators have announced concerns over the unusually high freshman class.
At the University’s Board of Regents meeting this month, University Provost Martha Pollack announced her plan to curb over-enrollment for future freshman classes, such as putting more applicants on the waitlist and admitting fewer students during the early admissions process.
“We have been over-enrolling every year for the past five years and we have to stop this,” Pollack said. “I’m not happy about it.”
E. Royster Harper, vice president for student life, also remarked on the importance of having enough space for first-year students for creating a community on campus.
“We have to watch it more closely, and that means modulating who gets admitted longer,” she said. “That’s not going to feel good to the incoming freshman students, but it will allow us to manage it better.”