Off-campus housing curtailment causes anxiety as room draw nears

Eylie Buehler, Features Editor

I will be a senior next year: a big, bad, nothing-can-touch-me, have-my-entire-life-ahead-of-me, seeking-new-opportunities senior. Senior year is a year to practice “adulting” as much as one can before one heads out in the world.

While I am trying to learn the responsibilities of being an adult and living on my own, I will most likely be living in a dorm next year.  At 22 years old, I will be living in a confined space with a peer telling me what I can and cannot do in my own residence.

When students commit to Allegheny, we are all required to sign a housing agreement. Basically, this agreement says that we, as Allegheny students, will abide by all the rules that the administration has put in place pertaining to living arrangements on campus, including the fact that we are required to live on campus for at least three years. After that requirement is met, or if you fall into one of the categories that exempts you, we are allowed to live off campus.

At least, that is the way it used to be.  

According to the Residence Life website, for the class of 2015 and beyond, these rules will no longer apply.  The class of 2015 and beyond are now required to live on campus for all four years of their college career.

The most irritating part of this whole scenario is that the senior class is being punished for the school’s inability to recruit.  The number of seniors who can or cannot live off campus their final year hinges on the number of incoming freshman who commit to Allegheny.

The issue at hand has been a long time coming as the number of incoming freshman has shrunk over the years.  I watched last year as upcoming seniors grew irked over the fact that they were told that fewer students were allowed to live off campus, and I watched their relief when the school had no choice but to approve students to live off campus because there was not enough space on campus to house all enrolled students.

I know seniors this year living in Caflisch Hall, which is traditionally an underclassman dorm.  Room draw is all a game of luck.  If one of your friends gets a high enough number and you are lucky enough to make the cut to live with them, then you are pulled into their room, regardless of your draw number, which is nice for underclassmen and for those who do not get a good number. But, when juniors and seniors pull up sophomores to live in North Village I with them, it leaves seniors with low numbers in Caflisch and other underclassmen dorms.

If room draw is going to be determined like it is now, and the school seriously expects to house all enrolled students in on-campus housing, a change needs to be made.

As seniors, we have worked our way up.  We all had to live in less-than-desirable living arrangements.  We all had to work our butts off in order to make it to senior year with a decent GPA and an applicable comp topic in mind.  I think that it is only fair that everyone does their time before they can live the life of relative luxury.

I understand that the goal of the college, itself a private institution, is to make a profit.  But need I remind you that as full time students we pay $41,970 in just tuition per year.  Now, honestly, I have no idea where that tuition goes, but I think they could spare a few dollars so that seniors can live off campus as they so chose.

Could Allegheny, by trying to prevent students from living off campus, be trying to control college party culture? If students live in their own housing there is no way for the college to monitor what they do in their own homes, including throwing parties. In my opinion, where there are college students there is a party culture. No matter where we are forced to live, parties will still be a part of our weekend, RA or not.

The entire situation is creating a loop.  As fewer students commit to Allegheny and fewer seniors are able to live off campus, it ends up driving away potential students.  Coming to a school where you are forced to live on campus for four years definitely was not on my list of priorities when looking at colleges and I know other students would agree.

As a senior class, all we ask is that you keep the promise you made us when we signed a contract as freshman and let us live where we please for our final year as Allegheny students even if that means losing some control and some money in the process.