Students living in expanded housing are being told to find other housing for the spring semester to some students’ dismay.
“I’m pretty annoyed,” said Wilton Childs, a sophomore, who said he didn’t understand when he selected to live in an Orchard Hill quad that he would have to move second semester.
A University of Massachusetts Residential Life policy mandates that quads be emptied so the spaces can be converted into lounges.
Had he known about the policy when he selected his room, “I definitely would have picked another assignment,” Childs said.
Childs is not alone. Out of the 26 multi-year Orchard Hill quads interviewed, with one not answering, residents in 10 rooms said they didn’t understand they would have to move at the end of the semester.
“We thought it was a rumor,” sophomore John Cushman said. “We didn’t know if it was a real thing. We figured we would cross that bridge when we came to it.”
Other students said that they thought the policy was a rumor or that they would have a choice about whether or not they wanted to move out of the quads. Others just did not know about the policy at all.
“It was like fine print,” sophomore Meera Connors said.
The Director of Student Services in ResLife Dawn Bond disagreed with the idea that the policy is like fine print.
She wasn’t “sure why people didn’t know,” Bond said in an email. “We have not allowed students assigned to temporary housing, now called expanded housing, to stay for the spring in my 11 years in office.”
Students housed in expanded housing will have first pick in the spring housing selection process, which begins on Dec. 4.
Freshmen in expanded housing will be allowed to remain in their quads, as will those who live in economy triples, which are not considered to be expanded housing.
On SPIRE, all of the expanded bed spaces – which are located in Orchard Hill, Central and Southwest residential areas – were clearly marked as such, Bond said, and students were given additional information after making the selection.
“When the (Online Room Selection) process concluded last spring, (ResLife) sent additional information to all students that assigned themselves re-iterating that they are assigned to expanded housing and that they would be required to move for spring semester,” Bond said.
Transfer student Morgan Goles didn’t know she would have to relocate for the spring semester.
“I wasn’t really given a choice,” Coles said.
Some students, like sophomore history major Dan DeLucia, are looking to find a way out of the policy.
“We were hoping we’d be able to convince (authorities) otherwise,” DeLucia said.
Sophomore animal science major Caroline Fitzgerald had similar plans when taking the assignment.
“We knew, but thought we could make them change their minds,” Fitzgerald said.
In her determination to keep the quad, which her and her roommates chose in order to have a balcony, she called Residential Life to ask if there was any way she could keep the space.
“They wouldn’t even transfer me,” she said. “They just said it was reassigned space.”
She had thought about creating a petition, but was told it wouldn’t do any good.
There were a few people, though, who had picked the assignment and accepted that they would have to move in the spring.
“I did it just to live with my three roommates,” said sophomore Isenberg student Andrea Ullrich, who has made no attempt to keep the space.
Many residents are worried about finding a new on-campus assignment.
“This semester has been very challenging for me academically and I want to spend finals week studying and working instead of worrying about moving out and leaving all my new friends in Field,” said Kate Nadel, a sophomore art history and philosophy double major.
But Bond assures there will be bed spaces for the students.
“As far as there being enough housing for them to select into a permanent bed space, yes, we will have plenty of vacancies for spring,” Bond said.
The quads were created in spring 2012 for the fall semester in order to alleviate the stress of housing everyone who desires on-campus residency, according to Executive Director of Residential Life Edward Hull.
With the quads and the use of economy triples, housing was able to meet demand for the first time in recent memory this year.
“In creating these temporary housing assignments, the good news is that more students are able to live on campus,” Hull said. “The bad news is that in order to make this happen, rooms intended for use by the entire residence hall are not available.”
Hull said this communal space is important, and as the spring semester creates enough open spaces to place students who were previously in expanded housing into permanent housing, he said it is reasonable to reassign the students.
This may be the last year the expanded housing is necessary during the fall semester, according to Hull, as the opening of the Commonwealth Honors Residential Complex will create new bed spaces.
“Our hope is that this may be the last year when this issue exists,” Hull said. “One of the real benefits of building a new residence hall is that it will provide us, for the first time in many years, the opportunity to “de-densify” our residence halls.”
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