TU consolidates residents to apartments

TU faces backlash amidst housing consolidation.

Before spring break, students were notified that all dorm spaces would be allocated for incoming freshmen for the upcoming academic year. Campus Services emailed current students on March 15 to notify them of the change in housing policy.

The email stated that TU would “need all students to fill an apartment.” To achieve this, TU is consolidating residents in all apartments in order to fill each building to capacity. In the past, students residing on campus have been able to pay additional housing expenses to live alone in dorms or apartments designed to accommodate two or three students, space permitting.

Campus Services gave students a few options to redistribute those who had planned on living in dormitories to the apartment villages. Students can pair up with a resident already living in an apartment with an empty room, join the apartment selection lottery or contact Campus Services for consolidation assistance. Current freshmen have an additional option to remain on a waitlist that could allow them to live in dorms with space permitting after the incoming class has secured housing.

The Collegian reached out to President Brad Carson about the housing consolidation and he provided some insight on what students can expect from these changes. “All first and second year students will be able to reside on campus, per our policy. All rising second-year students wishing to remain in a residence hall have been placed on a waitlist while they also receive an assignment to an apartment community. If space becomes available over the summer, those students will roll off the waitlist into a residence hall. In the meantime, we are also working to reimagine several spaces on campus to create a residence hall experience in an apartment community specifically for second-year students.”

According to Carson, TU is aiming to enroll 1,000 students in the fall. “We know that to be the best university we can be — a prestigious, R1 institution offering a vibrant campus community — we need to enroll 1,000 students each fall. This class size is good for everyone and we look forward to welcoming all students to campus next fall.”

TU has received backlash from students over the university’s plans to consolidate non-freshman residents to the apartments as well as the timeliness and quality of TU’s communication about the matter.

Junior Kara Mennella stated, “I personally think it’s very poorly planned and organized. Admissions and housing surely knew before we signed our housing agreement that there would be this influx of freshmen in the fall. Yet, they failed to let us know before we made our housing decision and signed our agreement that they were going to try to move all the sophomores, juniors, and seniors into an apartment. So all of the upperclassmen that decided to keep their double apartment as a single occupant were left scrambling to either find a roommate or enter the lottery for a single apartment. They sent us the email right before spring break and then expected us to have made a decision by the Friday we got back from break. Had campus services made me aware of this change before I decided to retain my current option, then I wouldn’t have been put in this stressful situation.”

Junior Maya Qureshi explained her experience of trying to move into a three-bedroom apartment with her chosen roommates. “[We] emailed housing multiple times to check in and make sure that they would still be available. On Thursday we all got phone calls saying that the three-bedroom apartments were all reserved for ‘consolidation’ purposes and we would no longer be able to choose them for housing. We were given 24 hours to decide whether we wanted to split up our roommate group, less than a week before our housing selection time, or all three live in a double apartment. They even suggested that if we chose the double apartment that we could put up a partition in the dining area to serve as a third bedroom.”

Qureshi and her selected roommates attempted to find out why the three-bedroom units would not be available and why they were notified so late to no avail. “We emailed, called and even met in person with multiple campus staff members and no one was really able to explain… We were offered a double and single apartment, and told that we could be added on a ‘waitlist’ for a triple if one were to open up.”

Law student Kaitlin Pogue stated, “As an adult in law school, I chose to live on campus as a means of convenience. Having to move out of the place I’ve settled into after being here for a year is exactly the opposite of that. The move out date listed on the portal is Mother’s Day and the weekend after my last final. This means I will have to pack and worry about moving while I should be focusing on my studies. I am beyond disappointed in how this has been handled by the university.”

Carson defended the housing consolidation, saying that TU has had a “smaller enrollment on campus following the pandemic” so the university has been able to offer residence hall experiences to sophomores, juniors and seniors in recent years when requested. However, “the university is expecting a strong freshman class next year,” and TU plans to remain consistent with their long-standing policy of “first-year students receiv[ing] a residence hall experience.”

The Collegian contacted Director of Student Life Ray Timson for comment on the housing consolidation and how it will affect students. Timson stated, “Because numbers were lower in recent years, we have been able to allow a student of any year to live in the residence hall. While having a larger incoming class is great for the overall university, it does affect housing options.”

Students wonder if the updated renovation plans for Lottie Jane Mabee Hall will still take effect or if the west wing will only receive an updated paint job and carpet replacement in order to open it in time for fall move-in. The Collegian reached out to Associate Vice President for Campus Services Melissa France about the situation but she has not responded to our request for comment.

Post Author: Shelby Hiens