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Housing | Web Update

Housing lottery process raises concerns

Published: April 3, 2014, 11:04 am ET
Housing-(University-Forest-Apartments,-co-ed-accomodation-for-juniors-and-seniors,-are-vied-by-students-(Ada-Liao)
Ada Liao /The Collegian
University Forest Apartments, which have co-ed accommodations for juniors and seniors, are wanted by students.
Collegian Contributor

Avery Safford was ready to live in an apartment on campus near Crenshaw Field with her teammates for her junior year.

She and her three apartmentmates did not receive an apartment through the lottery process and are now looking to get a double/double dorm room. Safford said she thought this would be difficult since many rising junior women who did not receive apartments are also trying for the double/double set-up.

Some students are concerned with the housing lottery process and how it has been affected by residential renovations and the new athletic policy.

“Being a student-athlete, we are viewed by the school as leaders of the community,” Safford said. “With this new rule in play, it feels like we are being disadvantaged because of our athletic ability.”

There are fewer available beds this year, but University of Richmond is making every effort to balance the projected housing numbers with enrollment for next year and beyond, Joan Lachowski, director of undergraduate student housing, said.

Richmond is careful not to close residence halls or apartments for renovation unless an adequate number of beds exist to meet the enrollment, Lachowski said.

Jeter Hall, Thomas Hall and five University Forest Apartments blocks will be closed for renovation during the 2014-2015 school year. However, new housing options will be available in Westhampton Hall and Gateway Village.

Lachowski said the university was increasing suite-style living spaces. This year, Jeter and Thomas halls will be renovated to match this style, which gives the housing office more flexibility to meet the demands of students.

Since suite-style housing is not gender-specific, these dorms will accommodate higher rates of women wanting to live on campus than men.

Athletes are especially affected by the decrease in available beds. Richmond introduced a policy in November requiring all student-athletes to live on campus, excluding those who already live off campus or are completing a fifth year.

Jansen Fraser, a sophomore on the baseball team, received an exemption from the student-athlete housing policy. Before the rule was formed, Fraser’s father purchased an off-campus house for his son and teammates to live in.

Fraser, but not his teammates, was given an exemption from an athletic director. He will live in the house next year with a former teammate who left the team this fall.

Since athletes are now unable to live in cheaper housing off campus, Safford would like to see some type of priority housing for athletes. She suggested allotting a certain number of apartments for athletes or giving them priority for double/double dorm rooms.

The number of senior female groups seeking apartments was significantly higher than the number of senior male groups this year, Lachowski said. This reduced the number of available apartments for women in mixed groups– juniors and seniors combined– and entirely for junior groups. Only one group of junior women received an apartment this year.

Some students did not write down enough choices on their housing applications, Lachowski said. As a result, students with lower lottery numbers may not have received apartments while their peers with higher lottery numbers did.

“The lottery is based on need,” Lachowski said.

The housing office staff looks at how many deposits and waivers were submitted for each gender. They then allot the beds in the residence halls and apartments.

Elizabeth Gonye, a Bonner Scholar and sophomore, said she had had very low lottery numbers for the past two years. Last year she had lottery number one, and this year she had number two.

Gonye said she wanted to live in one of the renovated Gateway apartments with three friends. However, they were unsuccessful, so she and her roommate are now hoping to get a double in Westhampton Hall.

Gonye’s impressions of university housing have changed this semester, she said. She would like the housing office to reevaluate the allotments of co-ed living spaces, making it more representative of the habits and desires of the student body.

Contact Collegian Contributor Megan Haggerty at megan.haggerty@richmond.edu

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