Administrators hope to house all

Michael Kaplan thinks for a moment during the Housing Forum on Wednesday night before asking the housing directors, "Why now? Why this year?" The Housing Forum was held so students could discuss there concerns with the opt-in housing process. Adrianne D'Angelo//The Miami Hurricane

Brought upon by the recent lottery chaos, Student Government organized an informational forum to rid bad rumors about the current housing dilemma.

Jim Smart, director of the Department of Residence Halls and Gilbert Arias, assistant vice president for student affairs, met with mostly irritated students in the Pearson classrooms on Tuesday evening.

“This new lottery process was necessary because of the closing of the apartment area and the promise of housing to all freshmen in Hecht and Stanford Residential Colleges as well as a whole floor in Mahoney,” Arias said.

According to Arias, now is the best time to close the apartments due to relatively low rents and increased availability of off-campus housing.

“I always assumed that Miami’s campus could serve as my home for my four years here, and now I feel like it was all a big lie,” said sophomore Michael Sutphin.

Roughly 16 percent of students that participated in the lottery were not selected to live on campus for in the fall.

“I will be very surprised if we cannot accommodate all the demands of our students,” Smart said at the forum. “[We want] as many students as possible living on campus.”

James Bauer, director of financial affairs, helped to clear up many of the rumors that have started since the release of the lottery results, namely the question of whether or not scholarships would be affected. He stated that there were no such scholarships for living on campus, and that funds, such as Florida Bright Futures, would go towards a student’s tuition instead.

Annual surveys distributed  by the Department of Financial Assistance to compile information about cost of living, housing and transportation for students who live off campus will help to calculate the money granted to the need-based students.

According to Smart, the Department of Residence Halls wants to help students attain the best living arrangements possible. Nora Villegas, the off-campus housing coordinator, is in charge of helping students locate and arrange to live in houses and apartments in the local area around UM. She can be contacted at nsvillegas@miami.edu.

Arias invited students to come to his office with any issues or concerns so that he can address them on an individual basis. If a student was not selected through the opt-in process lottery, they can sign up on April 9 through myUM to place their name on the waiting list. There will also be an off-campus housing and “roommate finder” event on April 22, in the UC Lower Lounge.

Chris Hardgrove may be contacted at chardgrove@themiamihurricane.com.