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Response to housing caps vary

By Amy Maltby

Wednesday October 3, 2001

Some say first-come, first-serve OK, others say all should be given an equal chance

UA students have asserted a mixed response to a working proposal by Residence Life that could reduce the number of on-campus housing spaces available to students planning to return to the dorms next fall.

Under the new plan, the amount of housing available to returning residents would decrease from 1,389 available spaces to 989 spaces. Incoming freshmen will fill the remaining 4,452 spaces.

The proposal would create a system under which only 18 percent of available spaces will be reserved for returning students. This is a decrease of 8 percent from the current policy.

According to the proposal, the university's four most popular residence halls will allot 50 percent of their available space for returning students. Returning students who do receive housing will be distributed throughout the residence halls.

Residence Life also proposed an end to guaranteed housing dates, a policy they have used in the past. According to this policy, students who return their housing applications on or before the cut-off date are guaranteed housing.

The new proposal would eliminate the cut-off date, making all housing first-come, first-serve.

Some students said this policy is unfair to returning students.

Ryan Parker, a fine arts freshman, said reserving spots for freshmen by taking them from returning students is unfair.

"I know a lot of freshmen want to live on campus, but so do other people," Parker said.

He said he plans to return to the dorms in the fall and would be upset if he could not get housing due to the new proposal.

"I think everybody should have an equal chance," Parker said.

Anthony Cipriano, an accounting freshman, disagreed.

"I was living in a lounge until they finally found me a place in here," he said, gesturing toward Arizona-Sonora Residence Hall.

Cipriano said he thinks the proposed policies are fair. He especially agreed with Residence Life's plan to eliminate guaranteed housing dates. Cipriano said he returned his application before the deadline, but still ended up in a lounge. He placed blame with current Residence Life policies.

"(Residence Life) just needs to stop overbooking," Cipriano said.

"It should be the other way around," Cummings said. "If you've been here before, you should have more rights."

Michael Pham, a biochemistry sophomore, said that in order for freshmen to find housing, returning students would be forced to move off campus. He added that finding off-campus housing would be easier for returning students than it would be for freshmen

"It's not exactly a win-win situation," he said. "They can't make everybody happy."

Pham said the proposal is fair as long as Residence Life notifies returning students who are refused housing in time for them to find alternative accommodations.

Pham said although he currently plans to return to the dorms, he would understand if he were bumped for a freshman.

"They have to address the situation somehow," Pham said.

Jonas Kroop, a history junior, thinks freshmen deserve more space on campus than returning students.

"Freshmen should definitely get the first chance at the dorms," Kroop said. "They're the ones who need to be introduced slowly into the academic and college atmosphere, and the dorms are always conducive to that."

Kroop also said as far as returning students are concerned, finding alternative housing is easier than it would be for freshmen.

"We've been around (Tucson) and we know what's going on, so if we want to be in the dorms, we should get last pick," Kroop said.

"You can't have a guarantee date. What if all 36,000 students here want to join in and they all apply before May 1?" Kroop said.

Steven Johnson, an aerospace engineering freshman, agreed an end to the housing guarantee date is "the way it should be."

However, Johnson does not agree with the proposed caps for returning students. Johnson and his friend, business freshman Brandon Taylor, both hope to live in residence halls next fall and plan to apply early for housing, "especially if they do this new plan," Taylor said.

The new housing plan was designed in response to a housing shortage caused by an influx of more than 6,000 incoming freshmen attending the university this fall, forcing some students to live in study lounges and hotels.


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