Housing hell

Ryan Murray’s take on the housing fiasco.

Is saved by the incompetence” a phrase? I feel like it should be, after what I had to deal with this summer with Chapman’s housing process, and ultimately, the bullet I dodged. I don’t know if it was stubbornness or blind faith that brought me back, but God knows it wasn’t because I was treated like I mattered.Before my turn to select housing last May, I was informed that all on-campus options were filled. All the upperclassman spots had been filled, and living on campus was not going to happen for me. I took this with resigned frustration, more at myself for not registering earlier than at the good people in the housing office. I assumed that good ol’ Chapman was going to help me find a place to live off campus. That was again, my mistake. I had forgotten that I was a name above a dollar amount on a check.Our fine institution was more concerned with a $10 fee I had been saddled with after losing my mail key than it was with having me return in the fall. In fact, the only thing that made me return at all, with no promise of a roof over my head, was that I was too disenfranchised with higher education to apply for transfer.I suppose I don’t blame them. Chapman is a business, and as with every business, what matters is the bottom line. What’s one easily offended student when there are literally thousands more to worry about? The only way anyone should be concerned is if Chapman were to say, overbook all housing and leave out-of-area upperclassmen dangling in the wind, while cramming freshmen into tight quarters. The problem is: that did happen.Maybe I shouldn’t blame housing. They put people into the slots they had available as best they could. But whose fault should the housing debacle be? Admissions, for letting in the largest freshman class in Chapman history without space to fit them? The Administration, for taking a Maoist “Great Leap Forward,” while not prepared for the fallout and leaving us to starve? Of course, I exaggerate, but perhaps there are just too many college students. According to Chapman’s website, 9,570 prospective students applied to the school, and about 1,185 new freshman enrolled. That’s just about 12 percent. To compare, the University of California system had 134,029 applicants, an increase of 10.8 percent since 2008, and admitted 68,329, a shade under 51 percent.Chapman isn’t alone in bungling the math for new college freshmen. It is exceedingly difficult to design a complex algorithm that ensures the minimum number of rooms will be left empty, while the maximum number who will enroll not to exceed the number of total rooms. Ithaca College in upstate New York so badly messed up this algorithm that they offered 1,900 students $10,000 dollars in financial aid to take a gap year, a break from college. Robert Morris University had no back-up plan for the influx of new students, and resorted to drastic and embarrassing measures. Students will be living in a local Holiday Inn.Maybe I’ve been unfair to Chapman officials. Sure, they didn’t help me find a place to live, and over-packed the dorms while their apartments fall apart, but at least we don’t have to settle for a continental breakfast.

Leave a Comment