Anyone who’s been through the housing lottery in the last couple of years is probably aware that the University doesn’t quite have enough rooms for everyone. As more students turn to off-campus housing or end up living in abandoned frat houses, the University has started to consider building new housing options.

Unfortunately, due to EPA policy banning the construction of entire structures built out of pure asbestos, these plans have failed to gain traction.

“The [UR] community has a longstanding tradition of building things using asbestos,” explained Valerie Alcott, Executive Director of ResLife, Housing Services, and Mesothelioma. “Unfortunately, the EPA has decided that asbestos is ‘dangerous’ and ‘gives you tumors.’”

While it is true that the EPA has never banned asbestos outright, the form used in insulation is no longer allowed. Alcott added to her complaints, “How do they expect us to keep our buildings warm in the winter? We only have so many trash cans that we can build fires in. And what are we going to build the ceilings with? I like there to be a little fake snow in the dorms for students to eat. It’s like a little treat for them!” 

Without easing asbestos regulations, upperclassmen housing cannot be expanded due to a UR building code stipulating that all student housing contain significant amounts of asbestos. The code was added in the 1970s, immediately following a large donation by SBTS Fireproof Insulation Specialists, Inc.

Some alternative housing options have been explored. Houseboats on the Genesee were suggested, but seem unlikely to succeed mainly due to the plethora of corpses floating in the Genesee.

“We have two options on the dead body issue,” Alcott told the CT, “We can figure out where exactly all these corpses are coming from, or we can make sure the students never, ever see them by not building houseboats. Which sounds easier to you?” 

Housing students in Mt. Hope Cemetery is also on the table. Options include turning students into vampires and putting them in a crypt, as well as overnight camping trips with sleeping bags rolled out amongst the headstones on warmer nights. However, these options all have their own flaws: physical impossibility, ethics violations, disrespect for the dead, and being seriously spooky. 

At press time, Alcott felt the most probable solution involved executive branch intervention.

“The Trump administration has already demonstrated their stance on public health and valuing human life under capitalism,” she told the CT. “Why can’t they just rescind the current restrictions on asbestos use?”

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