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Freshman housing cramped for men

Southern managed to make the pieces fit, explains factors for housing space shortage

September 28, 2011

Freshman housing was more cramped this year, but thanks to careful planning and cooperative students, the situation has been resolved.

Gossip about freshman housing has circulated since the beginning of the year. Although the number of freshman girls in temporary housing is down from last year, the number of freshman males is significantly higher.

Dean of Students and Campus Life Craig Southern said that the housing shortage stemmed from three factors: a decreased number of men living off-campus, an increase of all-female houses in the housing lottery and an increase of unfilled rooms in the fraternity houses.

This last factor morphed into the most popular rumor surrounding the housing situation—that some non-fraternity freshman would be placed in empty rooms in the fraternity houses. This possibility was brought up in the earliest stages of brainstorming, but according to Southern, the idea was never “a serious thought.”

A more considered option was moving freshman males in with male residential advisors (RAs). Although the Campus Life department contacted some male RAs about this possibility, it did not become necessary.

Campus Life was able to find more upperclassmen to move off-campus or into the fraternity houses, which only left two students without housing. The Campus Life and Admissions Office chose one freshman and one transfer student to live in the admissions suite until they move to permanent housing next term.

“It sucks that I have to move again, but the arrangement is ideal,” sophomore Colin Coutts said.

Coutts is the transfer student living in the admission suite. He likes the independence of living in an irregular dorm.

“I think other dorms have more interactions with RAs and events,” he said, “but we’re out of that stream … forgetting that you live in a dorm is kind of a plus.”

Coutts said that the fact he lives in the admissions suite, or a “model set” as he referred to it, is not that difficult. The Admissions Office did not give him any rules about interacting with the prospective students; he tends to stay in his room when the prospective students come once or twice a week.

Despite the hubbub over housing, many freshmen were completely unaware of the problems.

“Housing arrangements have not affected me,” freshman Cody Sehl said.

He lives in Seymour Hall, which was his first choice, and had not heard of the increased number of men in overflow housing.

Southern did note that they have had this many students before in fall term only housing, but this is the first time those students were predominantly male. Although Southern said that there will always be students in temporary housing, they hope to make the overflow more gender-balanced in future years.

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