Western has 100 vacant beds

Cassie Riley

Just three months after Western found itself with more students enrolled than it could house, July’s housing crunch has become October’s housing excess, according to President Gary Ransdell.

Ransdell announced at a recent Student Government Association meeting that the university has 100 vacant beds in campus dorms.

Kit Tolbert, director of Housing Operations, said yesterday the majority of the vacancies are in single-gender dorms, including McCormack Hall and Keen Hall.

“Most students want to live in co-ed dorms,” Tolbert said.

Ransdell attributed the fluctuation in available beds to students who have dropped out of college or moved off campus during the first two months of the fall semester.

As of three weeks ago, 76 students had moved out of on-campus housing, Tolbert said. She said that number has increased since then, but could not give an exact figure.

She said she did not know the reasons for the students’ departures.

Ransdell said Western could never have predicted it would have had 100 vacant beds at this point in the semester.

“It’s a delicate balancing act,” he said.

Western suspended its requirement for sophomores to live on campus in August after it was unable to house every student who requested to live in a dorm.

The move allowed the university to make more beds available to incoming freshmen. But many sophomores and upperclassmen chose to remain on campus and some freshmen found themselves looking for apartments off campus.

“It’s never going to be an exact science,” Ransdell said.

In the past, Ransdell said every bed on campus had to be filled in order for the university to cover the expenses incurred by Western during the campus-wide dorm renovation project.

Now, however, the new vacancies have not disturbed the construction budget, he said.

“I think we have the number of beds required to balance the budget filled right now,” he said.

But the university must figure out what to do with the empty beds.

Tolbert said administrators are still trying to determine a plan of action. The beds may be made available in the spring semester to students who want to move on campus, but Western may also allow some students who are without a roommate to keep their private rooms, if requested.

“We want to give the students without roommates the choice of keeping their own room,” Tolbert said.

Nashville freshman Amber North moved into a Western Place apartment when she didn’t get a room on campus. She was disappointed in the lack of effort by Western to find a room for her.

“I thought it was ridiculous that they were so apathetic about it in the first place,” North said.

She was given the option of being put on a waiting list with hundreds of other students, but chose not to have her name listed. She said she will not apply for one of the vacant on-campus rooms this spring.

“It’s too late for me,” North said. “I’ve already signed a lease.”

Reach Cassie Riley at [email protected]