Juniors face housing crunch

Trumbull College’s junior housing draw was scheduled to take place Monday night, but instead of picking their future suites, Trumbull’s rising juniors spent their evenings wondering if they will have rooms on campus at all.

The unusually high number of rising Trumbull juniors opting to live on campus next year has thrown the college’s housing allocation process into disarray, as Trumbull’s dean and housing committee are struggling to determine where — and if — Trumbull juniors will be able to live on campus.

Looming fears of a housing shortage are not unique to Trumbull. Many college deans have reported an exceptionally high proportion of rising juniors applying for on-campus housing, leading to a space crunch in the buildings Yale has historically set aside for annexed students.

“Everyone’s frustrated because we have no idea what our housing looks like,” Trumbullian Lugar Choi ’11 said.

Freshmen and sophomores are guaranteed housing on campus, but seniors are often given priority in housing draws. For most residential colleges, this means that juniors, unless they choose to move off campus, risk being assigned to annex housing.

For each of the last four years, an average of 645 juniors and seniors have lived off campus, said John Meeske, associate dean for physical resources and planning. Although Meeske confirmed that more students than usual have applied for campus housing, the numbers are “preliminary estimates.”

But Yale traditionally manages to find housing for all who request it. Meeske said some students decide to move off campus during the housing process each year, generally alleviating a housing crunch when there is one, although the University can also shift students to different annex spaces around campus or even to other residential colleges.

The overall college housing picture will become clearer after Meeske meets with college deans and the other members of Yale’s housing council on Tuesday. Many colleges still do not know exactly how many upperclassmen wish to remain on campus, contributing to further uncertainty. Meeske said he hopes the meeting will dispel much of this uncertainty.

Trumbull College housing committee member Dounia Bredes ’11 said annex housing is playing a large role in the mounting junior housing shortage. Trumbull College proper only has space for 33 juniors, and over 70 had applied for on-campus housing as of Monday, Bredes said.

Since last week, Trumbull Dean Jasmina Basirevic-Regan has been urging rising Trumbull juniors to indicate whether or not they intended to live on campus as soon as possible, despite the fact that the location of annex housing was not settled until Monday evening.

“People aren’t happy,” Bredes said. “No one likes ambiguity.”

Trumbull’s annex housing is typically located in McClellan Hall, but Trumbull juniors filled only 20 of 40 annex spaces allotted to them in McClellan this year. The housing council allocated McClellan to Calhoun College, which typically annexes about 40 students, for the coming year. Arnold Hall was officially named as the 2009-’10 annex space for both Trumbull and Davenport colleges early Monday evening.

Calhoun College, McClellan Hall’s new annex occupant, has contributed to the housing crunch. Meeske said he expects higher than usual numbers of Calhoun upperclassman to apply for on-campus housing in the newly renovated college, increasing the number of juniors who will be occupying much-needed annex space next year.

Ezra Stiles College housing committee member Sophia Popova ’11 said record numbers of Stiles upperclassman are also seeking on-campus housing for the 2009-’10 school year, although the college will not be renovated until 2010.

“Stiles always has at least a few empty rooms,” Popova said. “But next year, they will probably all be full.”

Even in advance of Tuesday’s housing council meeting, committee members have identified alternate annex options. In addition to Old Campus buildings, McClellan Hall and Arnold Hall, all of which are routinely used to house displaced juniors, students may be placed in University-owned apartments at 210 Park St. or even in other residential colleges, Meeske said. In the meantime, he said he hopes enough students will decide to move off campus to allow everyone who wants a Yale bed to have one.

Remarked Meeske: “We’ve never actually gotten to the point where we have to tell students, you have to move off campus.”

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