On-Campus Students Temporarily Moved into THesis Hotel while Spring Admit Freshman not Guaranteed Housing

THesis Hotel, located on US-1, will be home to many students as on-campus housing faces overcrowding.
THesis Hotel, located on US-1, will be home to many students as on-campus housing faces overcrowding. Photo credit: Alex Carnochan

HRL stated there was not enough on-campus housing space to meet the waitlist demands. Now, some students are awaiting if and where they will be permanently living for the rest of the school year. The timing for when most students will eventually move out of THesis has still not been determined.

“My plan was thinking that this was going to be a temporary stay, like I was going to be here for two or three weeks,” senior piano performance and journalism major Gianna Milan said. “Then my RAs said that we should be mentally prepared that we’re going to be here for the full fall.”

The students relocated to THesis only learned about their living arrangements following months of being on the housing waitlist. One student, sophomore Jason Ramkissoon, did not even know if he would receive housing until Aug. 1.

“I booked my flight less than a week before I was supposed to move in and it was very inconvenient,” Ramkissoon said. “I just told my boss back home one random day that I was not going to be able to come into work again which angered them.”

While HRL said they would refund $500 housing deposits and provided a website for students to find off-campus housing, many were forced to stay on in hopes of avoiding the pricey, unpredictable Miami market. The city of Miami was named the most expensive housing market in mid-February 2022 according to CBS News.

“I checked that off-campus website provided, but all the options they gave us were not attainable unless you had a car which I was not going to have,” Ramkissoon said. “I mean the rates for apartments here per month is the same, if not more than what [my family] pay[s] for our apartment in New York.”

Since THesis is a hotel for people living for short periods of time, there is limited storage space to hold a semester’s worth of clothes. Students have access to a closet to share with their roommate.

“I am literally surrounded by my boxes around my bed,” Ramkissoon said. “I still have my clothes in my suitcases, because there’s no space to put anything.”

HRL did not give any advance notice about the lack of storage space that would hinder their closet space. Their only advice was to not bring typical dorm items such as decor.

“Students were encouraged to wait until reassigned to an on-campus space to bring bulkier items like appliances and bedding,” Vice President of University Communications Jacqueline R. Menendez said.

Due to other lack of accommodations that the hotel provides, HRL has provided students with Tide Laundry service for all students living there. However, there have been some blips with the delivery from Tide.

“We’re supposed to leave it in the study room,” Ramkissoon said. “There’s just so many bags of laundry in that room that they haven’t taken.”

Tide Laundry bags left overnight in THesis Hotel study rooms on August 29, 2022.
Tide Laundry bags left overnight in THesis Hotel study rooms on August 29, 2022.

This issue has not limited itself to returning fall students however, as it will carry over into the spring-admits who were suggested to immediately look for off-campus housing arrangements and not rely on university dorms.

“I was on a Zoom meeting this summer for other spring students where [housing] did not guarantee that we would have housing,” psychology major Olivia Meola said. “My roommate and I started looking right after that.”

UM has also been unable to promise parking passes to spring-admits affected by the relocation, concerning those who do not live close to the Metro about their ability to get to school on time every day.

“We have talked to UMiami about it and they cannot guarantee us a parking pass as well, which is another problem we’re facing,” incoming freshman Rylie Szablewski said. “It is not undoable, but it just makes everything a little more complicated.”

Prior to this year, all freshmen were required to live on campus and guaranteed housing if they were not considered commuter students. Even with the demolition of Hecht Residential College and beginning of construction for Centennial Village, housing was not anticipated to be as limited.

“Under the Housing Facility Strategic Plan, available housing for students was to remain fairly static during the different segments of building Lakeside and Centennial Villages,” Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs for Housing Strategic Initiatives Richard Sobaram said in February.

However, the administration has now modified their “required” housing policy to include a safeguard if they run out of rooms.

“For nearly 20 years, Housing and Residential Life has operated under the policy that all non-local first-year students are required to live in University housing for two academic semesters, as long as space is available,” Menendez said.

The printed edition of this story featured a misprinted caption that said “first-year students” this has been corrected on the website to read “students.”