An unexpected influx of freshmen will cause upperclassmen from
Vera Baits I and II Residence Halls to relocate to Family Housing
to create additional residence space for those first-year
students.

The yield of 450 more freshmen than expected has led University
Housing to remove upperclassmen from Baits because of a University
policy that guarantees on-campus housing to all freshmen who follow
the appropriate procedures, said Alan Levy, director of housing
student affairs.

Upperclassmen residing in Cross House or Coman House in Baits
were given the option, via e-mail last week, to cancel their leases
for the 2004-05 school year by today or relocate to a unit in
Northwood I, II or III — apartments which are currently a
part of Family Housing on North Campus. To make room for these
undergraduates, families currently living in NW I, II or III, have
in turn, been asked to move to NW IV and V, in an effort to keep
those two complexes family-oriented, Levy said. He added that the
IV and V complexes have a number of vacancies and will be able to
accommodate families moving from I, II and III.

Currently, single undergraduates on North Campus are housed in
either Baits or Bursley Residence Halls, while students who are
married or have children, as well as some single graduate students,
are housed in one of the five Northwood apartment complexes. With
the reconfiguration of Baits to house more first-year students,
single undergraduates will be residing in Family Housing for the
first time and family-only housing will be reduced to NW IV and
V.

Upperclassmen, whose plans must now change, had mixed reactions
to the relocation. LSA senior Rosalyn Maben said that although the
e-mail surprised her, she did not see the options offered by the
University as bad news.

“I’ve kind of been wanting to move to an apartment.
(Now) I’ll be in an apartment situation for the same price as
my dorm,” she said.

But Maben added that the move may be inconvenient if she is
placed near families with children.

“I’m concerned that there might be families with
children who are crying or running around. I’m hoping that
I’m not located in a section that is noisy and
disruptive,” she said.

Maben said her suitemate at Baits decided to cancel her lease
with the University altogether and found off-campus housing.

While many upperclassmen have taken a similar route, or gladly
moved into one of the Northwood apartments, families residing in NW
IV and V voiced concern about the University’s decision, some
at last week’s University Board of Regents’
meeting.

With the University’s solution to the housing crunch, a
family residing in NW apartments I, II or III — which range
from $700 to $900 a month — could opt to relocate to the more
expensive NW IV or V but keep the same rent and have their moving
costs taken care of by the University. Levy said Housing has
received many applications from families willing to move and will
be relocating them through the remainder of July as well as
August.

David Johnson, a Rackham student who lives in NW IV said he
opposed the University’s decision to allow residents of NW I,
II, and III to relocate and keep the same rent.

“Part of the deal is that they get to move out and keep
their low rent,” Johnson said. “So they’ll be
living next to people that are paying more. My rent is $992 (per
month) which is distressing.”

Levy said, however, that residents of NW I, II and III that were
relocating to IV and V were significantly helping the University by
“uprooting themselves” and making a move they had not
planned on or budgeted for and thus will be allowed to keep the
same rent as in their previous apartment.

“The current contract holders of NW IV and V chose to sign
a contract for (those apartments) with the knowledge of the
contract rate that they would be paying and they made the decision
to (do) that,” he said. “We are asking the residents of
NW I, II and III … to help us out … and we needed in
some way to recognize that.”

Although some families from NW I, II and III will be relocating
to IV and V, some will remain in their current location and will be
living among single undergraduates, a situation that some families
find troublesome.

Other residents of the Northwood apartments have cited the
reduction of family housing to IV and V as problematic for future
students who are married or have children.

Johnson said families from Northwood apartments will be
gathering to decide on further action.

While the University has chosen to solve this year’s
housing problem by relocating upperclassmen from Baits, the
Residence Hall Association — which serves as a liaison
between the administration and the residence halls — has
taken it upon itself to provide suggestions to solve a similar
problem in the future. Although the group’s president Amy
Keller said the association supports the University’s current
solution, she, along with other officers at the RHA, submitted a
letter to the regents regarding the relocation, outlining changes
to the housing system in general.

Among those suggestions is a call to rid the University
guarantee of providing freshman with on-campus housing and instead
offering off-campus housing options to first year students.

“We believe that a successful ‘first year
experience’ could result from off-campus housing should (the
off-campus) office expand both their staff and services to
students,” the letter states.

If the guarantee is to continue, however, the RHA suggests that
the Residential Life Initiatives project “work at a faster
pace” and recognize the need for a new residence hall.

The letter sent to the regents also includes a number of
suggestions for current North Campus housing that would dispel the
current “stereotypes regarding the atmosphere of North
Campus.” Among these suggestions are a community center on
North Campus to give it the same feel as residence halls located on
Central Campus and the Hill, improved transportation for students
traveling to classes and the possibility of offering some
introductory courses on North Campus.

These changes, the RHA states, would benefit both undergraduate
and graduate students on North Campus, a demographic that will
increase with the housing changes just implemented, placing 30
percent of all incoming freshman in Bursley or Baits.

Levy said uncertainties about how many accepted students will
enroll led to the miscalculations of how many freshmen would need
housing in the fall.

“It seemed that the students who took the time to fill out
the new application ended up being more committed to actually
enrolling in the University,” he said.

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