When freshman English major Shania Verse logged on to her Chapman housing portal shortly after noon April 24, the portal displayed multiple on-campus housing options still available. After clicking each option, she soon realized that there were no spaces left.
About 100 students were unable to secure on-campus housing during the housing selection process that began April 24, Dave Sundby, the director of Residence Life and First Year Experience, told The Panther. There were more students who applied to live on campus next year than there were available spaces, Sundby said.
Sundby said that these 100 students make up about 11 to 12 percent of the total number of students who applied for on-campus housing this year.
“I feel as if there was a lapse in Chapman’s judgment and responsibility,” Verse said. “I am a student from Chicago, who is neither fiscally nor mentally prepared to live off campus. I have no time to find suitable and affordable living, especially without a car. I felt hopeless.”
Verse said that she immediately contacted Residence Life after discovering that there were no available living spaces.
“They put me on an interest list,” she said. “As of right now, I have a class schedule and no place to lay my head for next semester.”
Sundby said that the biggest difference in the housing selection process this year was the increase in the number of students in the freshman class, which is about 1,307 students this year and will be about 1,333 in 2017 based on the university’s plan to increase enrollment by 2 percent each year.
“This was the first year where literally every bed space filled up as early as it did,” Sundby said. “But even then, we’re only talking a couple hours’ difference.”
Sundby said that Residence Life received the first phone call from a student saying that there were no available spots left at about 1:30 p.m. April 25, the second day of the housing selection process.
The university is in the process of planning “major builds,” Sundby said. A new residence hall located at a historic packinghouse site on North Cypress Street and West Palm Avenue, which will be called the West Residential Village, is scheduled to be finished by fall of 2020 or 2021. The hall is estimated to house about 400 students. Private real estate developers have also proposed a private student housing project, which could house about 340 students, at the site of the historic Killefer School on Lemon Street.
Provost Glenn Pfeiffer told The Panther in August that the university plans to house 50 percent of students – which would be about 3,000 students – on campus in the coming years. The West Residential Village would allow 45 percent of students, or about 2,740 students, to live in university-sanctioned housing.
“(The new residence halls don’t) help our students out right now and I recognize that, but I think we’re going to have a lot of relief to the stress on that system in probably about two years,” Sundby said.