Fraternity suspensions overcrowd housing
Published: Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 01:09
However, after a representative from HOME contacted the junior RA and “pleaded” with him to take on a roommate, the RA agreed to house a student.
“After talking with the representative from the HOME office for a period of time over the phone, I had been told several times, partially because I wanted reassurance, that once I took on a roommate it would be one roommate,” the junior RA said. “There was no stipulation that there would be ‘roommates’; it was ‘roommate.’”
According to the sophomore RA, a second email was sent out later in the summer due to the low number of initial responses, this time offering a $500 textbook stipend in addition to the original $200 weekly stipend.
And like the junior RA, the sophomore RA soon had a second roommate after his first roommate moved out, but unlike the junior RA, he received a phone call from HOME informing him of this new roommate. Despite this, the sophomore said more communication would have helped the situation.
“I understand why the university had to do this, and I’m not really mad at them about that per say, it’s just that it’s not what we were expecting and when we were asked over the summer to take on temporary roommates they just kind of sprang it on us without ever actually sitting us down and being like, ‘Are you ok with this happening?’ or any of that,” the sophomore RA said. “They kind of just assumed that since we were taking temporary roommates it didn’t matter what type of temporary roommate that was.”
According to Woodruff, although living spaces continue to open up due to no shows and students withdrawing from the school, the university would have much less overcapacity if not for the 34 fraternity members now living on campus.
Olson said three of the 37 sophomore fraternity members required to move out of fraternity houses and into on-campus housing opted to commute from home, one of the options for on-campus living.
The junior RA said the university should have done a better job explaining the situation and outlining a timeline of when the students would move out.
“I was very disgruntled with how it was handled,” he said. “If I had been told that I would be taking on a second roommate at the university’s will and the office of housing’s will, I would never have accepted the student, never.”
Wagner said housing overcrowding has occurred in the past due to large incoming classes, but also said the university did not face a shortage of rooms when 22 members of Sigma Chi fraternity were required to move onto campus last spring, following the removal of the chapter’s charter.
“We have welcomed very large classes in the past,” Wagner said. “It is a unique situation that we need to call an additional group of sophomores back to campus at this early point in the semester.”
The housing overcrowding has also forced the university to move some students into the Miami Commons apartments off-campus, and one RA was hired for the students living there, according to Olson.
Neither the sophomore nor junior RA have had much interaction with their new fraternity roommates, in part because their roommates are “technically moved in,” but are actually “living” at off-campus locations. The sophomore RA’s roommate has not brought any personal belongings into the room.
Having a roommate also makes the resident assistant position more difficult due to privacy issues and RA responsibilities, according to the junior RA.
“Your room is your office,” he said. “So if a student needs to come to you and they have an issue that they need to talk about, that’s traditionally where they would take the conversation, [and] having a roommate in there kind of foiled that.”
According to Olson, no RAs have resigned for taking a roommate.
The sophomore RA said it is too early to make a determination about the position, but said he could see a point where he would no longer want the job and would rather live off campus next year.
On the other hand, the junior RA said he does not think his experience is reflective of a normal resident assistant’s experience, and said being an RA is still a rewarding position.
“As a student employee I just thought it was unacceptable that I was treated this way; that I was just expected to stomach it and not say anything,” he said. “The fact that I haven’t heard from [the university] yet in terms of a response is troublesome to me.”