Residential Life to convert some South 40 six-person suites to four-person suites

Curran Neenan | News Editor

Residential Life announced that it would convert approximately 75 percent of its six-person suites on the South 40 into four-person suites Jan. 30.

The announcement revised plans laid out in a Jan. 29 email from Residential Life to convert every six and eight-person suite on the South 40 into four and five-person suites, respectively. The converted suites will be composed solely of singles; the six-person suites are currently composed of two doubles and two singles, and the eight-person suites are three doubles and two singles.

In the most recent email to the student body, Residential Life explained that after hearing from troubled students about the timing of the Tuesday announcement and concerns about the elimination of low-cost housing options on campus, they would make close to 20 six-person suites available for the fall 2019 semester. According to Director of Housing Operations Will Andrews, the two eight-person suites on the South 40 will also remain untouched.

“The reason why we went back and rethought it was because of students’ feedback regarding affordable housing options, and then for students who had already planned on living in six-person suites,” Andrews said. “[Students were upset] because of the timing and notification being a bit later.”

Andrews says the initial plan to convert all six- and eight-person suites into single-only was prompted by increased upperclassmen demand for singles and a desire to avoid splitting up groups of four.

“When we have to fill those units, some of those groups of four have to break and we didn’t want that to impact students again like it did last year,” Andrews said. “Those were actually some of our hardest units to fill in the housing selection process so I’m excited to see if the six-person [suites] are as popular as the students are requesting them. Now we’re going to see how many of them actually form as groups.”

Freshman Christian Monzon and five other students had already made plans to live in Rutledge next semester before they heard the news on Tuesday.

“We spent several hours meeting together trying to figure out our living situation to see if it was feasible to live together, so we put a lot of time into this,” Monzon said. “Then just two days before registration started we were kind of shocked that ResLife decided to all of a sudden cancel six-person suites, and so we were left really confused, wondering what to do.”

Several of Monzon’s friends are low-income and unsure of their ability to pay for a single should they be placed in one.

“There’s some uncertainty there and that’s also a scary thing going into this, because we don’t know whether ResLife is going to split us up or whether or not we’re going to stay together,” Monzon said. “We don’t know where we’re even going to stay.”

According to Washington University for Undergraduate Socioeconomic Diversity (WU/FUSED) member sophomore Mia Hamernik, the University will cover a portion of many students’ housing costs. However, the amount left over must be paid out of pocket. She says the latest move is just part of the larger problem “with finding affordable housing on campus.”

“This issue being brought up has led way to a discourse surrounding Wash. U. housing as a whole when it comes to accessibility and affordability,” Hamernik said.

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