April 16, 2014

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University to add 300 economy triples

In response to the predicted fall 2012 housing shortage, Residential Life will create 300 economy triples in Southwest, Northeast and Central Residential Areas, according to Director of Student Services Dawn Bond.

The economy triples – doubles that are converted into triples by adding extra furniture –will be located in Washington, Emerson, Coolidge, John Quincy Adams, John Adams, Butterfield and Thoreau halls, according to Bond. Other dormitories in Central and Northeast will also house economy triples, although Residential Life has not yet announced which ones.

“It is my goal to house every student that wants to live on campus, even though we had to give people notice that we might not be able to guarantee rising juniors and seniors housing,” said Bond. “We did that to be careful and to be upfront about our housing situation and that we might run out of beds, but I hope that we’re able to house every student that wants to live on campus.

“I don’t know if I am just hoping this and want the universe to deliver … but I really think we are going to be able to provide a bed for every student who wants to live on campus,” said Bond.

Most of the economy triples will be in Southwest because the z-room – a room layout specific to Southwest – is the easiest room to convert, according to Bond.

The 300 economy triples will be able to house 900 students – a number that could, according to Bond, prevent students from having to live off campus.

“What I want to do is provide an on-campus option and that is where I am feel I am doing the best I can,” Bond said. “If there is a bed for you on campus and, even if it not your first choice bed, then I have at least met that bar.”

Students will not be randomly assigned to economy triples, but will have the option of selecting in to an economy triple on SPIRE during their housing appointment. Economy triples will be noted in the living options column of the Room Search Results page in SPIRE.

People who choose to live in economy triples will be able to live there for the entire year, according to Bond. Even if students elect to move out, the rooms will not be converted back to doubles.

“It is logistically very difficult to do that,” said Bond.

However, expanded housing – lounges in Orchard Hill Residential Area that are converted to quads – will only be available to upperclassmen in the fall semester. Freshmen will be allowed to stay in the quads for the full year, according to Bond.

Economy triples will cost $700 less a semester than a double.

Bond recognizes that not everyone will want to live in one.

“I think where it is going to break down a little bit is what students want versus what is available,” said Bond, who noted that the idea of living in economy triple will not appeal to everyone.

She added that some people might choose to live off campus because of the housing situation.

“It is going to be the decision that students make around what’s available. They may not want the area that is available. They might not want the room type that is available … there is a lot of things that students make decisions about that are outside of my control,” said Bond.

Even if students to not elect to assign themselves to an economy triple, the rooms will not be converted back to doubles, according to Bond. Instead, the rooms will be offered to transfer students who do their assignments later in the year.

“If we do end up with vacant beds which we always do anyhow … we will house more transfers,” said Bond.

For the first time this year, economy triples – which are called forced triples at several other universities – were used in several first-year halls, including Kennedy, John Adams and Butterfield.

Greg LaPerche, an undeclared freshman, was placed in a John Adams economy triple this past September. Although he hopes to live in doubles from now on, the experience was not a bad one, he said.

“It’s been alright, there have been no problems [and] no space issues,” he said. “It would be nice to have more space … but I do have the single side so I don’t have to bunk my bed or anything like that.”

Space was a concern for Magda Mitaszka, a student placed in an economy triple, who told the Daily Collegian last September that she was “not happy upon learning that there’d be three people living in a room that is meant for two.”

“If the school didn’t have rooms for everyone, then they shouldn’t have accepted so many students,” she said in the Sept. 6 article. “I am worried there won’t be enough space for all our clothes and various items and that the room will feel crowded.”

Bond said that at the end of the fall semester, students in economy triples had priority if they decided to apply for new on-campus housing. Only 14 percent of occupants in economy triples chose to do so, she said.

Katie Landeck can be reached at klandeck@student.umass.edu.

Comments
6 Responses to “University to add 300 economy triples”
  1. Ed Cutting says:

    So much for social justice — we have now officially recognized social class as a legitimate criteria for oppression.

    The rationale for requiring dormitory living was that it was a great equalizer. Rich kid, poor kid, whatever, everyone who was attending the university paid the same price and got the same thing.

    Now we have the overcrowded ghetto where it will be two-on-one and the shy kid, the socially awkward kid (Tyler Molander anyone?), the kid with disabilities will be first scapegoated in the room and then the dorm and either drop out of school or have a really sh*tty experience, or in some cases, commit suicide. (We are so worried about suicide on this campus, why don’t we try to address some of the underlying issues that cause it, like student stress?)

    This whole plan to keep expanding the freshman class is asinine and I will say that if no one else will….

  2. Fred says:

    So the question is, is this really a discount or is the price of singles and doubles going up so that you now get a triple at the old double price.

  3. Casey says:

    Ed: This isn’t a matter of classism. The University doesn’t have enough housing (and they’re working on that) but in the meantime it is necessary to respond to the demands of students which is for them to offer enough on campus housing for those who want it. Besides, under the lottery system, a student who can afford to live in a single has the same chances of being forced into a triple.

    I don’t think anyone is going to commit suicide because they have two roommates. We have a lot of problems on this campus but if someone can’t suck it up and live with two other people, they need to re-evaluate their life. We pay a lot to go here but we pay a lot less than some private schools where people are required to move off campus after their first or second year. Show a little appreciation for the fact that umass is trying to make accomodations.

  4. Ed Cutting says:

    Casey, I say this as I repair the memory slot myself in the refurbished laptop — UMass is like a refurbished laptop, $100 cheaper and a whole lot less quality. Before saying that UM is cheaper, one needs to look at the 5/4 factor – that in order to graduate with the classes that you want/need to take (and not some bulls**t social justice stuff instead), you either need to be here 5 years or go summers or go online as well or something.

    So if it takes 5 years to get a 4 year degree, and at UMass it largely does, you need to take the yearly cost and multiply it by 1.25 — and then figure in the year of post-grad lost earnings as well. UM isn’t looking so cheap at this point, is it?

    And as to the “suck it up”, I will accept that when the union are told to do likewise. Are the faculty being told that they have to teach an extra class next fall because we need them to and don’t have the money to hire more professors? Are the janitors being told that they aren’t going to get their pay raise because we can’t afford it? Are the cops being told that we are going to have a few less officers on each shift for similar reasons? NO.

    Students are customers — in the increasingly competitive higher education market, this will increasingly become the case. And I don’t think that Walmart asks its customers to “suck it up.”

  5. 80 says:

    Colleges always have to accept more students than they can hold, because not everyone that gets accepted is going to attend. I think UMass overcompensated a little too much this year, however. They have to realize that in this economy, more students are going to opt for state schools over private schools (not that UMass is cheap these days, by any means). The way they’re trying to make up for it now is ridiculous. They know they accepted too many freshmen, so now they’re giving sophomores guaranteed housing again so they’re not all displaced. What if sophomores want to move off campus? They should be given that option, especially because it would free up bed space. And the new Honors complex? Way to alienate everyone who’s not in Commonwealth College, UMass. As a rising junior, it is frustrating to have to go through the same anxiety about housing I went through as a sophomore. Building more housing needs to be one of UMass’ top priorities.

  6. mason says:

    What’s wrong with sharing a room, slightly larger than a bedroom with 3 people?

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