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Housing cap best solution for a tight situation

By Wildcat opinions board
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday Feb. 5, 2002

As of late, the university housing crisis has become the source of a bitter disagreement for several large campus organizations.

The Associated Students of the University of Arizona and the Residence Hall Association both disagree with the way the Department of Residence Life and UA President Peter Likins have handled the issue of imposing a housing cap.

In response to a severe housing shortage on campus, Residence Life has decided to implement a housing cap - which places a four-semester limit on students living in campus dorms - in the next school year.

ASUA and RHA have officially stated they are opposed to the idea, unhappy with - in their view - the unfair snubbing of juniors and seniors from dorms.

However, the hard reality of the situation is that a housing cap is the best solution for the University of Arizona. Given the circumstances - an influx of freshmen in recent years and a shortage of available housing on campus - imposing a housing cap is necessary.

Under the housing cap, no one is guaranteed a spot in the dorm, and rooms will now be allocated on a "first-come, first-served" basis. This is a necessary step for a dire situation that will not improve until new dorms are completed in 2004.

That said, it's a damn shame that back in the day, Residence Life officials didn't think a little harder about going ahead with a guaranteed housing date. Someone should have realized enrollment rates would eventually go up and that finding adequate housing on campus would become a problem. But, hindsight is 20/20.

Nevertheless, given the current situation, a housing cap is a necessity - however difficult it may be to swallow. The freshman dorm experience is irreplaceable, and if kicking upperclassmen out of the dorms means younger students get a chance to live that experience, then hats off to Residence Life.

It is an unrealistic assumption that incoming freshmen will easily find places to live off campus, especially given the number of out-of-state students who come to this school each year - 38 percent according to UA's Web site.

Also, it is important to recognize that only about 26 percent of freshmen even consider returning to the dorm as sophomores and eventually juniors and seniors. Targeting upperclassmen under the proposed housing cap policy is the most logical solution because it affects the least amount of students.

Although the Wildcat respects and applauds RHA and ASUA's decision to oppose a housing cap, limiting students to four semesters in the dorms is the best decision for UA given the circumstances. As frustrating as the situation may be, the entire student body needs to accept it.

Juniors and seniors might think they are not getting the respect they deserve, but if this housing cap is not implemented, freshmen and sophomores will be put under a strain to find housing - a strain they should not have to experience.


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