UD Housing Crisis

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by Christian Howard

The University of Dallas housing bubble has burst, dispersing dozens of seniors in apartment complexes throughout Irving.

With an increase in the number of students required to live on campus, seniors were informed in early May 2011 that they would be unable to obtain housing in the student apartments. Moreover, with policy changes in the housing at Tower Village, or “Old Mill,” many seniors were forced to seek housing farther off-campus – during finals week.

The issue began on May 2, the week before finals. Seniors who had applied for housing in the on-campus student apartments were informed by an email from the housing registrar that there was “an increase in the number of apartment applications” and that “many more groups applied than there were apartments available.”

Senior history major Mallory Bowen, a resident of the New Residence Hall at the time, said that this news came as a shock.

“We had been told a few weeks earlier that we would probably get to live on campus,” Bowen said.

The housing registrar sent out definitive emails on Thursday, May 5, informing the student body of their housing assignment or, in the case of many seniors, of their position on the waitlist.

“It wasn’t so much that we were told we couldn’t live in the student apartments,” Bowen said, “It was that we were told so late. That was the trump card.”

Betty Perretta, the Director of Student Life Operations, said that information about housing was posted on the UD website before April. (Did this info. include notices that Student Apps were full?)

“We always try to publish as much information before housing registration as possible,” Perretta said. “We had a link from Facebook; we sent out emails; we had posters and flyers: we tried every means of communication possible.”

The situation arose in part from the increase of students in need of housing: the incoming class is the second largest in UD’s history, with 375 freshmen and 50 transfers. Additionally, there was an increase in the number of students who applied to live in the apartments this year: over 80 students applied for the on-campus apartments in excess of the number of beds.

“For student housing, we first have to take care of the students who are under the residency requirements,” Perretta said.

These requirements, detailed on the UD website, state that anyone with senior status – 90 or more credits – or over the age of 21 at the beginning of the school year do not fall under the residency requirement. Moreover, the website states, “Any senior or student over the age of 21 before the start of the fall, regardless of classification, cannot live in ‘the New Hall’ but may apply as part of a group to live in the campus apartments.”

However, due to the increase of students and the increase in the number of juniors who applied for student apartments, most seniors were unable to obtain an on-campus apartment, as Bowen discovered last May.

So what happened to the seniors?

After learning that she would be unable to live in the student apartments, Bowen turned to Tower Village, also referred to as “Old Mill.”

However, when Bowen looked into Tower Village during finals week, she discovered that there were only four apartments available at that time.

Bowen said, “Half the class who had not been planning on living in the student apartments had already booked Old Mill. There weren’t many apartments left.”The high occupancy of Tower Village was due in part to a new university policy whereby five apartments were reserved specifically for international business students.

Pat Daily, the Director of Resident Services, said that these reservations were made “for those international students who don’t have as many resources as other UD students.” Such resources include the ability to visit apartment complexes, negotiate rent, and obtain furniture and other necessary items.

Daily also confirmed that at the end of August, 97% of all Tower Village apartments were under lease.

The University of Dallas did, however, try to accommodate as many seniors as possible.

In June, Perretta sent out an email in which the university “offered to place an additional resident in the on-campus apartments upon the agreement of all of the occupants.”

But for many of the seniors, this offer came too late, as many of them had already found off-campus housing. Only a handful of student apartments took on an extra resident.

So, where are all the seniors?

Some, particularly those who never looked at on-campus housing, are living in Tower Village, and some were able to obtain condos right across from campus. However, a significant number of seniors were forced to find housing in other apartment complexes, such as Chaparral Creek – located at Northgate and O’Connor – or The Colony, located at MacArthur and Coker. There are nearly 30 seniors in these two apartment complexes alone.

Bowen summed up the experience, saying, “It’s fine now, but having to find an apartment during finals week was not fun.”

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