Residential Life experienced a severe shortage of housing units while attempting to place upperclassmen in on-campus housing for the fall semester. The shortage was caused by an unusually large sophomore class and a high percentage of seniors returning to reside on campus.

“The University has done a good job in advertising [itself] as a residential campus,” Director of Residential Life Laurel Contomanolis stated. “Currently we are oversubscribed.”

At standard occupancy, there are 3,204 housing units available on the River Campus for both freshmen and upperclassmen. The university is currently operating at 104 percent capacity. To accommodate the growth, the study lounges in the Susan B. Anthony Residence Halls were converted into quadruples for freshmen and some rooms in the residential quad were made triples.

The students most affected by the shortage were those who received high numbers during last spring’s housing lottery. Many groups of rising sophomores wishing to get a suite in Phase or Towers were turned down and were forced to change their living arrangements at the last minute.

Anyone who did not have an assigned room at the conclusion of the housing lottery was told to rank the Residential Quad, Towers, Hill Court and Southside Living Center from most appealing to least. They were then placed in any vacancies that became available during the summer.

“I was so worried, it made me miserable,” sophomore Rachel Shapiro said. After having missed placement in a suite during the first round of the lottery, Shapiro feared that she would be assigned a room in the Southside Living Center (formerly the Graduate Living Center). “To me, Southside is not campus.” Shapiro was finally assigned her top choice but did not find out until the second week of July.

On June 5, ResLife sent an e-mail to all rising sophomores, juniors and seniors who were interested in withdrawing from their housing contracts in order to live off campus. The proposal created 50 new vacancies from students who wished to cancel their contracts.

“We always go into the summer without having everyone assigned to a room. Moving around to create spaces doesn’t always go as quickly as we wish,” Contomanolis said. “This year we got all unassigned students assigned; most of them got their first or second choice.”

In past years, the University has seen an average of 60 percent of the senior class reside in campus housing. This year however, that number grew near 70 percent, according to Contomanolis. While the percentage of sophomores decreased to 90 percent from 94 percent last year, the significantly larger number of students in the class made placement challenging.

“It’s actually working out nicely,” sophomore David Meyer said, regarding his living arrangements. Meyer and his roommate Garret Starr were assigned a room in the Drama House after initially declining an offer to live in the Southside Living Center. “ResLife was pretty helpful, but there’s only so much they could do when there were no rooms available.”

However, not everyone was satisfied with his or her final arrangements.

Sophomore Ori Goldman applied to live in a double on the Residential Quad but instead was assigned a loft in Hill Court. After several unsuccessful attempts to get in contact with the ResLife office during the summer regarding a room change, Goldman began contacting deans and eventually called President Joel Seligman.

“Now that this has escalated to the point where I need to talk to the president, I’m strongly considering legal action against the University,” Goldman said.

“We have to look at our existing housing and see how we can meet our short-term and long-term goals,” Contomanolis said. “For now, we want to offer the off-campus experience to more mature students.”Fernandez can be reached at

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