Just a year after students panicked because of a severe on-campus housing crunch, residential college room draws and allotments have not presented many problems.
When administrators pre-assigned annex spaces on Old Campus before the exact size of the freshman class cut was determined, they underestimated how large the cut would be. The cut has now been set at 50 students, freeing up even more rooms open on Old Campus for upperclassmen — quite a contrast to last year.
Eight out of the 12 colleges have their housing all worked out, leaving Branford, Jonathan Edwards, Morse and Saybrook as the only colleges still sorting out a few last housing problems this week, Dean of Administrative Affairs John Meeske said.
“Generally things are falling in to place pretty well,” Meeske said. “This week it’ll be settled.”
Earlier this year, administrators reserved 1,333 beds on Old Campus for freshmen. The administration has since decided to cut the freshman class by 50 people to 1,300. This leaves 33 extra rooms that were not originally allotted as annex space, allowing Yale to easily accommodate all on-campus demand that exceeds residential colleges’ capacities with Old Campus housing. Despite this space, small groups of students may choose to live off-campus rather than be annexed among freshmen, college deans said.
Branford had more students request on-campus housing than there were rooms available in the college and in its pre-allocated annex space.
Meeske said Branford’s on-campus demand has risen since the University renovated it last year. There is one group of eight students that does not fit in Branford or its preassigned annex space. Meeske said this group can be accommodated on Old Campus, but Branford Dean Nicole Parisier said some of the students may move off campus instead of residing on Old Campus.
Scheduled to reopen following a year of renovations, Saybrook will now house more students than it has in years. Even though Saybrook’s renovations will allow more students to live in the college, two or three students may be annexed with the Saybrook freshmen on Old Campus, Saybrook Dean Paul McKinley said. Saybrook has one suite that has not yet been filled, but the last handful of students includes males and females who cannot all live in the one suite. McKinley said the few left-over students may opt to live off-campus if they cannot reside in Saybrook.
Morse experienced a similar disparity in numbers in its last few rooms and settled its annex housing issues only yesterday. The college had three groups to be annexed, and the number of people in the groups did not fit exactly into any of Morse’s annex spaces. One of the annexed rising juniors had to switch housing groups.
“A lot of it is a numbers game,” said Sandi Hebert, the Morse dean’s administrative assistant. “We want happy people — that’s what it’s about, but it’s a crap shoot.”
Jonathan Edwards College missed the mark only slightly. The college was just one suite short of accommodating all requests. That suite will be housed on Old Campus with JE freshmen, JE Dean Christos Cabolis said.
But these problems involving only handfuls of people pale in comparison to last year’s housing scrambles. At one point last spring, administrators told 20 Trumbull students there was no on-campus housing available for them. The students were later housed in Durfee Hall, but incidences like this one caused some housing panic.
This year administrators pre-assigned annex space, so that students knew where they would be living if their colleges could not accommodate all students.
These estimates worked out fairly well, as only a few slight changes were made, Meeske said.
Berkeley and Calhoun colleges did not need all of their Old Campus annex space, and Pierson College ended up needing more Park Street annex rooms.
Davenport, Ezra Stiles and Trumbull colleges’ annex estimates worked out just right, and Timothy Dwight College ended up with a couple of extra suites in Swing Space. Silliman College is all set, although housing there was extremely tight.
Members of residential college housing committees said although on-campus living is still tight, students seem to be pretty happy.
“A lot of kids are living in pretty big rooms,” said Mike Gutner ’02, a Stiles housing committee member.
Even those at the bottom of their housing draws said they are pretty happy.
“Considering we got the lowest draw in the college, it definitely worked out well,” said Morse student Sarah Smith ’03, who will be annexed in Durfee.
College housing committee members and administrators said they will continue to discuss housing procedures.
“It’s always a high pressure process,” McKinley said. “And we do what we can to keep people informed.”