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Res. Life to cut housing for some students

By David J. Cieslak
Arizona Daily Wildcat
January 29, 1999
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Eric M. Jukelevics
Arizona Daily Wildcat

UA Residence Life Director James Van Arsdel speaks at a Residence Hall Association meeting last night. Van Arsdel said his department may be forced to reject more than 500 students from dorms in the fall.

A UA Residence Life official said last night that 500-600 students seeking a bed in campus dorms this fall may be apartment shopping off-campus.

Residence Life Director James Van Arsdel told a packed Residence Hall Association meeting that students who wish to remain in the halls could be forced out and some freshmen may not be admitted.

"Yes we have to turn away some return students," Van Arsdel said after the meeting. "This is not good news to them."

An excess of incoming freshmen is partly to blame for Residence Life's new strategy, Van Arsdel said, adding that there are mixed opinions about the housing situation at the UA.

"There is a growing perception on the campus that the balance between freshmen and returning students...is out of kilter," he said. "We're trying to ask what is a reasonable balance."

During this academic year, all residents who wanted to return were re-admitted to the dorms, but next fall 200 spaces must be made available for incoming freshmen, Van Arsdel said.

One out of every six returning students will not be given a space, he said. A lottery will be held sometime in April to determine who will be permitted to inhabit the dorms, he added.

More than 20 questions were fired at Van Arsdel during his presentation to the RHA general body meeting.

RHA members told Van Arsdel that the April lottery does not allow them enough time to find alternate housing because most apartments will already be rented. Van Arsdel disagreed, saying students would be able to find a place to live.

Associated Students Sen. Janet Rico was in the audience last night, and said Residence Life needs to seek more student opinions before making a decision.

"I think student input needs to be put in," Rico said. "Students need choices."

ASUA President Tara Taylor, also in attendance, said she wants to see a compromise between everyone involved in the situation.

"Is it right or wrong - I don't know," Taylor said. "I see both sides of the story."

Taylor said she was advised of the plan Wednesday and that she understands why some RHA members were shocked by Van Arsdel's presentation.

"The first time hearing it kind of surprised everybody," Taylor said.

Van Arsdel said a final solution must be reached by next week.