Last week, as the University ran its annual housing lottery for the upcoming year, SDS continued their protest on housing conditions just outside Wilson Commons.

In direct visibility to tour groups frequenting the area, SDS occupied Wilson Quad for several days utilizing donated tents, blankets, and food by other students. A rotating group of students stayed in the area, as classes continued throughout the week. At one point, Public Safety approached and spoke with the students.

The newest housing option developed by the University is the Brooks Crossing Apartments, which were constructed in 2014. The newest housing option overall is Innovation Square in downtown Rochester, which is located in the old Xerox building. If chosen through the housing lottery, students sign a nine month lease versus the traditional 12 month lease with on-campus housing.

Students have been vocal about their growing dissatisfaction with student housing conditions, the housing lottery, and plans for faith-based buildings to be built on already limited available land on campus.

This has been seen in the response to the flooding in the Brooks Crossing apartments over winter break and the town hall held on April 16th directed towards addressing Student Housing.

“While I do support everything [SDS] stood for and I believe they were completely right in their goals, I’m admittedly a bit unsure how they plan to both fix gentrification and increase housing or how much the protests will end up actually impacting others,” said first-year Daniel Menis.

The housing lottery itself has been a point of contention over the years. As the number of accepted students has increased over the years, on-campus housing has become scarcer and thus not guaranteed for all students. The Class of 2026 themselves had a total of 1,499 enrolled students. First-year dorms have seen a number of doubles being converted to triples to accommodate for the lack of housing, as well as placing students in previously designated upperclassmen dorms.

This has culminated in students with later time slots in the housing lottery being pushed off campus for housing when on-campus housing runs out. Just last August, Residential Life offered a limited number of upperclass students to be released from their housing contract to accommodate the lack of available housing.

First-year Kanishk Shanmugam, who went through his first experience with the housing lottery this year and obtained housing, said, “It’s crazy to me that [SDS] protested it and were absolutely right in their claims as, ironically, students were getting screwed by housing services as they protested.”

This is all coming after the University announced in March housing and food will increase 3.8% to $18,714 for the upcoming year.

According to their post, SDS ended their protest after having spent over 120 hours camped outdoors.

Tagged: housing SDS

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