An update on the housing situation

Changes made so far are still far from a long-term solution

Recently, the Office of Student Activities sent out an email to all students regarding the 2020-21 Housing Selection Process. 

The email included information regarding the formation of a committee, in response to student feedback, to make revisions to the housing process. 

This feedback was provided by students who had participated in the housing selection process the previous school year. Made up of staff, Residence Life and other groups, the committee gathered to discuss opinions and met over the course of several months. 

Last year, rising juniors struggled to find housing in their designated upper-class dorms due to shortages. Many were subjected to living in underclassmen dorms, such as Warwick Hall. 

As a result of this difficulty and, dare I say, mistake, the committee set out to provide further clarifications and create a smoother process for years to come.

Generally, the changes made provide more housing for third and fourth years as well as a few adjustments to pre-existing residency. 

A new residence hall is currently being constructed and is projected to be available next school year for third and fourth years. 

This new building on East Campus, soon to be called President’s Hall, will provide 79 more beds which is a significant improvement and exciting for upper-classman. 

There have also been a few modifications to apartment leasing terms with the intent of creating more housing for students required to live on campus. 

Ten-month apartment leases will  no longer be available, and 12-month apartment leases will now require all occupants to be retained the full time. The committee decided to release lease dates to students two years prior as to allow for students to better plan financially. 

Additionally, the current double rooms in Rappahannock River Hall will remain double rooms in order to provide more housing. And the apartment style suites in James River Hall will be limited to four occupants as to provide more single rooms. 

Further information regarding the new content of this email, a timeline, procedures, etc.  can be found at CNU connect under ‘Housing.’

While these changes will improve the overall shortage in housing, simply adding rooms will not completely fix the situation. 

Modification of the selection process is required. In my previous article about housing, published Sept. 11, 2019, I brought attention to the flaws in the selection process. 

In order for the Housing Selection Process to be efficient and effective, the method in which students select their dorm rooms needs to be altered. 

Currently, individuals are evaluated based on their standing with the school, whether they are in the President’s Leadership Program and/or the Honors Program. These students are told they have priority housing in that their time slot to select housing is earlier. 

However, the reality of this system is that the groups who wish to live together rely on the individual with the highest status and earliest time to guarantee they are placed in their desired housing. 

These groups are often comprised of individuals from varying status, which creates an unfair advantage for a group of students who are, for example, all in PLP or Honors. 

My previous proposed plan is to evaluate the group as a whole rather than the individual and then assign a time to create a fairer selection process. 

This will eliminate the advantage certain groups have because of that certain individual. 

Though I am excited for the increase in residential dorms for upperclassmen next year, I will patiently wait for a change.

~Cana Wilson, Staff Writer~

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