Students feel powerless toward housing policy changes
Many wait hours to sign up only to find no guarantee of housing at the end of the line
Within the past week, the Miami Hurricane has received over a dozen complaints from students regarding the housing situation on campus, primarily the new amendment stipulating UM’s ability to administratively change housing assignments and force students to move into the Holiday Inn, the lack of on-campus dorms available for current students and the unrealistically long lines to sign up for housing.
The Miami Hurricane attempted on several occasions to contact Jon Baldessari, assistant director for Residence Halls in charge of housing assignments, to schedule an interview to discuss the complaints, to no avail. On Friday, the Miami Hurricane went to the office of Residence Halls to speak with Baldessari, only to discover that he was unavailable to meet with us. We then requested to speak with his secretary, Dianne Wall, but the front desk attendant, who refused to give us her exact name or title, said she could not contact Wall or vouch for her whereabouts. The Miami Hurricane then requested to speak with Robert Redick, director for residence halls, and were told that he was out of town attending a conference.
Reporters for the Miami Hurricane later discovered that Baldessari and Wall were directing the long lines of students waiting to sign-up for housing.
“This is ridiculous,” Rafael Evans, freshman, said. “It’s a horrendous and horrifying experience.”
Recently, the Miami Hurricane has learned that the resident assistants [RAs] in all of the residential colleges will be moving into single rooms, to make their current double rooms available to residents.
However, students currently living in single rooms in Hecht and Stanford have not received notice that they will not be able to live in these rooms next year.
Even though these students are signing up to retain their singles, they will not be notified that they are displaced students until the Department of Residence Halls sends them a letter stating that they must move into the Holiday Inn because their room is unavailable.
Students are outraged at the deception and misinformation presented to them by the staff at the Department of Residence Halls.
Sometimes students have waited up to five hours to sign up for rooms and many have missed class and work or rescheduled appointments to make up for the amount of time it takes to sign up for a room.
“I was under the impression that this was organized, but it’s really not,” Anna Becker, freshman, said. “We’ve been waiting for over four hours.”
“I figured this would happen,” Greg Carr, freshman, said. “They need to have more than one line.”
Upperclassmen who have been through the housing process in the past expressed shock at how frustrating the situation is this year.
“I can’t believe how long that the lines are; they have never been so bad,” Jake Golden, junior, said.
Many students said they expect more from the UM administration.
“With as much money as we pay, the school should have a better system,” Danielle Vann, freshman, said.
Many students believe that UM administration has accepted too many incoming freshmen, and they feel under-appreciated and unwelcome on campus, mainly because they will be the first to go if spaces need to be filled at the Holiday Inn.
“If they don’t have the room for students to live on campus, they shouldn’t be admitting them,” Shaneca Adams, freshman, said.
“This is really frustrating, and there aren’t many rooms left,” freshman Emily Ely said.
“They really need to work on building new housing, like University Village, because this is unacceptable,” Sarah Hutchins, sophomore, said.
Some students are even considering transferring to another school if on-campus housing is not made available.
“I attend UM because of the academics,” Jennifer Steeb, freshman, said. “If they make me go to the Holiday Inn or anywhere else off campus, I would transfer because I’d be missing out on campus life.”
“I think one way to resolve this issue is to make the admissions process more competitive,” Steeb said.
Several students are also criticizing the staff of the Department of Residence Halls for their lack of organization and professionalism.
“The approach to the system needs to be changed,” Kristen Greenberg, freshman, said. “They have three people with pencils in there signing everybody up.”
“They need more housing and a better system of signups,” Jake Golden, junior, said.
According to Mike Johnston, former Student Government [SG] president, SG has worked to help make the housing sign-up process easier this year by offering a week of express sign-ups for students wishing to keep their same room.
However, Johnston says the current housing process is unacceptable and he says he will work with Scott Sadowski, new SG president, to come up with a solution.
“The current housing sign-up situation is very poor,” Johnston said. “I’m very upset about it and will work with Scott to fix the situation.”
For any questions, comments, concerns or complaints, contact the Department of Residence Halls at 305-284-4505.
Jorge Arauz can be contacted at email@example.com; Leigha Taber can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org