August Freirich 0

Addressing the recent housing designations

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To the Administrators of Emerson involved in housing: The manner in which Emerson’s Office of Housing and Residence Life has handled housing for rising juniors this year is unacceptable. As freshmen, the affected students signed a housing contract requiring them to live on-campus for a term of six semesters,. In spite of this residency requirement, many students this year have been told that they have been denied housing for the 2011-12 school year. Those who were granted housing continue to be bound by the residency requirement, and are therefore not allowed to live off-campus, if they so choose. This is not an acceptable way for students to be treated for a variety of reasons. The social life is what makes college memorable for many students, and being able to live with your friends is not only fun, but also an important way for students to grow as people. Being able to live with people that respect and support you is a fundamental part of life on your own, especially in a communication school whose students tend to be more outgoing and rely on their friends to get by. Students commonly form close-knit, coed social circles in college.  In the event that some of the members of these groups are denied housing, it is only right that the other members of the group be allowed to make the decision to forego their own housing and live with their friends off-campus. This both maintains the integrity of social circles which would otherwise be broken up, but also creates a small flow of students who choose to leave their housing, creating an inflow of availability for students who desperately need to live on-campus. The limited amount of space is unavoidable. The divisiveness of the residency requirement is not. We respect that Emerson owns limited housing space. We understand that in order to afford the maintenance cost of such space, this space needs to be used by undergraduates, which is why the residency requirement was introduced in the first place. Had the issue of limited space been addressed in a clear, reasonable, and up-front manner, we might stop at requesting that the residency requirement be removed. However, this process has been complicated infinitely and unnecessarily by the poor communication employed by the housing department, when there was any communication at all. At the beginning of the year, it was implied that we were guaranteed housing for the 2011-12 school year. Then we were told that reverse housing was being reopened. Finally, we were warned that some students might have to live off-campus. At no point were we informed of the severity of the situation - that this was a pressing issue that would affect more than a few individuals. The only actual number we've been given thus far is that supposedly Emerson was able to house 40% more juniors this year than last year. Emerson was not up front about the issue, and gave no indication to the volume of students that would be denied housing. Students are now in direct competition with each other to get the best, cheapest, closest apartments possible while trying to work out the logistics of a suddenly to be divided circle of friends. This is especially pertinent to students studying abroad, notably at Kasteel Well. These students must now try to arrange a living situation for themselves while half-way across the globe, with limited internet connection, phone availability, and lacking the capability to attend any of the housing workshops provided by this establishment. The obstacles involved are seemingly insurmountable, and at the very least, costly. It is one thing to be denied housing. It is quite another to suffer false promises, sparse information, and then be told that you have next to no control over your living situation. To alleviate these issues, we demand that Emerson reopen hotel rooms in the Doubletree hotel, as has been done in the past, and make every attempt to make more on-campus housing available. Furthermore, we request that students who have financial aid not suffer a reduction in that aid as an added penalty for being forced to live off-campus, a condition some of the affected students may already be unable to afford. Sincerely, the undersigned.

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August Freirich, Student.


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