Hell hasn?t frozen over and yet, UR has responded to student requests. However, the housing situation still needs to change.
As juniors originally assigned the number 87, we received one of the last nine suites reallocated from the sophomore drawing as a result of the threat of protests. We have mixed emotions. On the one hand we are relieved to have a suite ? on the other, we still feel that there are several problems that need to be addressed.
We are happy that the administration heard and responded to the grievances of our class. The administration acknowledged the housing oversight and acted to change it. Due to the addition of nine extra suites, the housing situation became less bleak and offered the current sophomore class more options. After our experience, we feel lucky to receive a suite.
After the six-person housing draw, we realized that we were in a position with few options. We, like many, blindly signed a legally binding contract without having the information necessary to make an informed decision. When we signed, we did not even know our chances of getting the housing we wanted.
We signed a blank contract. We have no choices and no potential release from this contract, and we feel jerked around.
We should have had all pertinent information about housing before we signed anything binding. In most contractual agreements, conditions must be met on both sides. If we were signing a lease agreement for an apartment we would know exactly the accommodations being provided.
Dean of The College William Green wanted interclass living after the freshman year. This directly changed the point system and meant the Office of Residential Life had to reserve suites for sophomores in Towers. Sophomores who would otherwise be unable to receive that housing under the point system.
The reallocation of suites did not leave room for all the suites composed only of juniors. The addition of the 15 and then 9 more suites essentially returned Residential Life to the old point-system lottery, leaving current freshman without suites. This was the first change that needed to be addressed.
When approaching Residential Life to determine our options, we discovered an office not wanting freshman housing, but having to deal with the consequences. The administration and Green need to accept more responsibility for the housing changes due to freshman housing and address the student body directly. Residential Life should not be a mediator between the actions of the college and angry students.
Residential Life could not give us solid answers on cramped junior housing and what would happen to us specifically.
Rumors began to fly, including the idea of junior triples in Susan B. Anthony Residence Halls. Compounding this fear was the knowledge that the only way out of our contract was to sell it with no help from Residential Life. Who would want to buy our triple in Sue B. for $8,000?
This was a slap in the face for many in the class of 2003 who had already dealt with crowded housing as freshmen. The realization that we were not going to get a suite left both of us shaken and disturbed. We discussed moving off campus to find housing and then realized that we were legally prohibited from doing so.
Other local universities, such as SUNY Geneseo, offer a release from one?s housing contract for a fee. Why can?t UR offer the same option?
This would allow students a feasible way out and more housing options. Another pressing question is why the contracts are not signed upon our acceptance of a room? Why must we blindly sign for a room that we know nothing about? Residential Life and the rest of the administration should make the effort to provide fair options for students living on campus.
This would help bolster the administration?s position that they care more about the students than their pocketbook. It would also guarantee that students like us would be in preferred housing.
We understand and realize that there was a housing shortage this year because more seniors chose to remain on campus than usual. If people were allowed out of their housing contracts these problems may have been relieved or eliminated.
Our problems were compounded by several attempts to silence our student activism. On several occasions, we personally have been offered ?special circumstances? in return for silence.
For a change the administration has finally responded to fix a problem for all involved and to that we say ?Amen.? But we also ask, what about next year?
Boice and Hehnly are sophomores.