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Housing challenges force Security move

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Madeleine O’Neill

News Editor

At the end of last semester, roughly 140 students left campus without any guess as to where they might live during the 2013-14 school year. The Residence Life office spent much of this past summer dealing with what amounted to a perfect storm of housing problems: the relatively small 2013 senior class graduated and the incoming first year class was not small enough to balance out the much larger senior class of 2014.

To solve the problem, Residence Life staffers had to resort to unusual measures. Associate Dean of Students Christie Bing Kracker explained that a variety of options were considered in the process.

“We did offer Residential Living Exceptions to Seniors to see if we could gain beds even before the Room Selection Process in April, but very few students were interested in this as an option,” she said. “We also explored any and all options in residence halls, such as building in lounges to place students there, but none of these were desirable.”

In the end, Residence Life staffers chose to use office spaces, including Culbertson-Slater and the Rubbermaid building, as residence halls. Although there were still open beds on campus at that point, Dean Kracker explained that they were mostly individual beds in program or themed houses, which was not an ideal option for placing students off the waiting list. “By adding as few as 45 or so beds in Culbertson-Slater and Rubbermaid we were able to house all of our students and most of them with their roommate choices,” she said. Some groups of waitlisted students were placed together in open campus houses.

Before the transition to student housing, Rubbermaid housed the Learning Center, which is now in the library basement with APEX. Culbertson-Slater previously held Security and Protective Services and Residence Life.

The Residence Life office, which has combined with Student Activities to become Campus Life, is now in the basement of Lowry.

SPS has been relocated to the multipurpose room of Luce for the foreseeable future. In the meantime, Luce residents will be left without a complete kitchen, although kitchenettes are still available in the building.

Director of Security and Protective Services Steve Glick said that the location change has been difficult, but is now mostly complete. “The transition has been a little tough,” he said. “We weren’t able to move our patrol and access functions until the day before Moove-In, and then of course [there were] Orientation activities. It has been a bit stressful but I think we got through the tough spots.”

Although Luce is not in a central part of campus, Glick does not anticipate that the move will affect Security’s response time because officers who respond to calls are usually patrolling campus.

Dean Kracker expects that the future will bring fewer housing problems and avoid the kind of last-minute measures that had to be taken this year. The addition of the Gault Schoolhouse on the South end of campus will add about 74 beds to campus, and future freshman classes will probably be smaller than the graduating class of 2014.

“We are optimistic that we will be in a better housing stock position this time next year,” said Kracker.

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