UMass academics are suffering in the wake of over-admittance

The lack of housing isn’t the only crisis plaguing UMass students this fall

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Justin Surgent/Daily Collegian (2011)

By Lilyana Ricardo, Collegian Correspondent

It is no secret that University of Massachusetts students are facing a housing crisis this fall, with significant overcrowding in dorms leading to some students having to reside in Hadley’s Econo Lodge; a ten minute drive from campus or an hour-long walk along a busy highway. UMass has stated that students living in these hotel spaces can expect to stay there through the fall semester, but will be given priority access to on-campus housing come spring. Yet, it remains unclear how the University will accommodate students who wish to move on campus if campus remains completely full.

The struggle with on-campus housing and overcrowding isn’t the only issue UMass students are facing this fall because of over-admittance. Aside from heavy foot and vehicle traffic on campus and seemingly constantly packed dining halls, students have found they are unable to enroll in classes as easily as past semesters. As the student population continues to rise, faculty does not.

Several students have found that even classes that are required for one’s major are filling up faster than anyone can enroll in them, causing some students to reconsider graduation and career plans. This seems to be the most detrimental impact of UMass over-admitting students, as it is now fully preventing students from completing the main goal of enrolling in a college institution: receiving a higher education.

Class registration times are staggered, and priority is determined by a student’s “potential academic level,” as outlined by the University Registrar. One may believe that this would help students enroll in classes that are specific to their major as they come closer to graduation, yet most still find that their required classes are filling up far too fast for them to enroll and therefore complete the academic requirements that are necessary for their degree. This means they may be forced to stay on campus for an extended period after their projected graduation.

There does not seem to be any positive impact of UMass admitting so many students; students have nowhere to live, dining halls are overcrowded and understaffed, PVTA and UMass transit workers are facing a staffing crisis and now students’ education is being negatively impacted by the overwhelming demand during enrollment periods. With the growing list of challenges to education on campus, UMass administration has not made and effort to remedy this issue––Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy said that the University is, “not a problem to solve,” and that he does not want to be told that UMass “doesn’t provide enough housing.” A defiant response in the face of suffering students.

Not only can students not enroll in important classes, but class sessions are experiencing such high volumes of students that some are forced to sit on the floor in large lecture halls or do not have desks to work at in smaller classrooms. This puts pressure on students who have difficulty focusing in unexpected environments, as well as on professors to handle a more students than they may have expected.

The pushback on the part of UMass is only making the college experience worse for its large student population. Students cannot receive the education they are paying thousands upon thousands of dollars for, and most students do not have the financial means to stay on campus for extra semesters. UMass students are struggling, and staying on top of deadlines and planning advising meetings is no longer enough for students to stay on track. It is up to the administration to do something about it

Lilyana Ricardo can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @lilyanaricardoo.