In an attempt to accommodate the severe housing shortage that UM will be facing again next year, administrators have come up with two alternative options for continuing residential students, based on feedback they’ve received from current residents.
“We are projecting that we will have a shortage of beds available for students this coming fall semester,” Dr. Pat Whitely, vice-president for student affairs, said. “To date we have received housing deposits from over 2,435 continuing students, which is approximately 200 more than last year’s numbers.”
The first option is for students who have changed their mind and would prefer to live off campus. In this case, the University will refund the entire housing deposit [$250] upon receipt of a written cancellation via letter, fax or e-mail. The Office of Commuter Student Affairs has several off campus housing resources available to help students in locating alternate housing.
“I wish that they would have given us the option to get our deposit back last year,” Jessica Sears, senior, said. “I decided to live off campus after I had paid my deposit, so I lost all that money.”
“This year we set an early deadline for housing deposits of Feb. 21. This early deadline has enabled us to plan ahead and determine whether there will be a need for overflow housing at the Holiday Inn, which we believe will be the case this coming fall semester,” Whitely said. “We all know that approximately 200 students were assigned to the Holiday Inn last year.”
Due to these numbers, the second option seeks to find volunteers to live during the fall semester at the University Holiday Inn, located on U.S. 1 across from campus. These double occupancy rooms include daily maid service, free HBO and local telephone service, and dual data/telephone lines with free dial-up-service to UM.
Additionally, a meal plan will not be required for students residing at the Holiday Inn.
Also included is a free shuttle service to and from campus from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m., as well as residence life staff. Moreover, all hotel residents will be reassigned to on-campus spaces by the end of the fall semester.
“We are exploring the possibility of providing pick-up laundry service at the Holiday Inn,” Whitely said.
Some students see this option as beneficial.
“I would volunteer to go to the Holiday Inn just for the maid service,” Justin Sanders, sophomore, said. “I mean, I’ve seen some pretty nasty dorms.”
However, if an insufficient number of continuing students choose one of these options then it will be necessary to change the assignments administratively.
“All continuing students who have paid a housing deposit for next year will be required to sign a housing contract, including an addendum which stipulates that the University reserves the right to change on-campus assignments to hotel accommodations should the demand for on-campus housing exceed the space available,” Whitely said.
“It’s a lot better that the University is seeking volunteers instead of just being like, ‘Hey you – you’re moving to a janitor’s closet.’ I mean, lets get real,” Sanders said.
The University is seeking out other long-term solutions to the housing shortage as well, including the construction of the University Village.
“I’m glad that the University is building the University Village because maybe that way we won’t have to have students living at the Holiday Inn,” Tania Walsh, freshman, said.
The deadline for selecting either option is 4 p.m. Friday, April 4.
“As long as they don’t have to start bringing in trailers and making us sleep on the IM field, I’m happy with wherever I live,” sophomore Justin Sanders said.
If either the off-campus option or the hotel option appeals to you, please contact the Department of Residence Halls at 305-284-4505, via fax at 305-284-4956 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Commuter Student Affairs Office can be contacted in person in room 236 of the UC or by telephone at 305-284-5646. The office also maintains an online listing of a variety of off-campus housing accommodations at www.miami.edu/commuter-affairs.
Leigha Taber can be contacted at email@example.com