Quinnipiac housing is a major embarrassment

By on April 15, 2004

Quinnipiac likes to boast of itself as a university with a rising national profile – a rising star, so to speak. With attention drawn to it due to the Polling Institute and rapidly increasing undergraduate applications for admission, this place has certainly made some strides in the past several years. However, an enormous problem remains that threatens to hamper Quinnipiac for years to come.

I’m referring to the lousy state of student housing here and particularly the housing lottery system. Both are utterly pathetic, and together they represent the clear black eyes of an otherwise improving university.

My group of six, led by me, registered for the Complex Apartments. Everything was done on time. Then, like was the case for everyone else, it simply became a case of waiting and hoping for the best. While we were aware that space is limited in Complex, we had no idea about what was soon to take place.

The morning of April 6th came, and I checked my email to find a message from Residential Life telling me that our group did not even get a lottery number at all. It then went on to kindly explain that we could “regroup” and “re-enter” the next lottery process. How nice of them.

Well, a couple of my friends marched right up to Residential Life to get more information that afternoon while I was at class. Come to find out, 31 groups registered in Complex for only 13 available spots. If that isn’t bad enough, my friends were told by assistant director Derek Zuckerman that our group was “randomly” selected as number 31 on the list. That’s right – we were the Tampa Bay Devil Rays of the Quinnipiac housing lottery for groups of six. Eighteen groups would have had to drop out for us to even have a sniff at our first choice.

However, that was only the beginning. As everyone on the second floor of Dana (where I currently live) asked everyone else about lottery numbers, it soon became apparent that not a single group on this floor got a number. Not one group! The vast majority of people on the third floor of Dana were also denied lottery numbers. I suppose it’s only a coincidence that many more people in Commons and Ledges had better fortunes

So now, back to this bit about “regrouping.” The term sounds so cute and cuddly, doesn’t it? It brings back fond memories of the 2nd grade spelling bee, where after the first few rounds, we were all “regrouped” according to our spelling ability. Or of 6th grade, when we were all “regrouped” into different math classes based on our mastery of long division.

Behind the diplomatic language as it relates to the housing lottery are some harsh realities. First and foremost, regrouping inherently means that some people will be forced to go into a second lottery, itself not a sure thing by any means, with people who they did not originally intend to live with. Does that sound like something we should have to just shut up and deal with?

Secondly, this past week seemed to be a giant rat race to pull extra people out of a rabbit’s hat and go for the nine-person (up from eight) Mountainview suites. At last count, there were potentially 40 groups trying for seven spots. It also means that some original groups became shorthanded for the second lottery, leaving them with even fewer options.

And by the way, did we mention that Mountainview costs an extra $2,000 per year to live in? So, basically, Residential Life says, since you were screwed over in round one, you can jump through 10 hoops to get into round two, just to have a miniscule chance at paying an extra two grand a year for your trouble. I wonder if the Admissions Office wants that tidbit mentioned on their tours.

So, if you strike out at regrouping as well, it’s game over, right? Time to make plans to pitch a tent on the quad? Of course not – not with the good folks at Residential Life there to take care of us. For later in that email message, they explain that people who do not “get a room” during the lottery will be placed in rooms over the summer as space becomes available. Well folks, don’t go through too much trouble!

“Every attempt is made to keep groups together,” the message says. Every attempt will be made? Far be it for us to expect a guarantee that a supposedly up-and-coming university will keep groups of friends together. We all pay the same tuition (roughly). It’s a joke that sophomores and even juniors might have to be randomly placed here and there, rooming with people that they wouldn’t know from a hole in the wall.

The crux of the matter is that Quinnipiac faces a crossroads in regards to its housing situation. Seniors are already booted off campus. I think we all know that unless things change, juniors will eventually be next. More and more admitted students are deciding to come here, creating a ridiculous housing crunch.

Yet, the university stubbornly finds it more important to solicit money to build another athletic facility in addition to the one we already have. That money should go toward building more dorms as long as the population of this place continues to grow.

I know, I know. I’m just the latest in a long line of people to complain about the housing problem, right? This is old, you’re saying. Well, you’re right, and that’s the point. This situation has been sat on and squashed by upper university management for too long, and it’s approaching the breaking point now. If Quinnipiac brass had any sense of reality on this issue, they’d be rightfully embarrassed by it.


About A. J. Atchue