Tuesday, April 10, 2007

and so it's come to this

Last night, about fifty students - just a small percentage of the six hundred seniors kicked out of on-campus housing last week - began a week-long campout on McKeldin Mall, the picturesque main quad of the Maryland campus, in protest of the Board of Regents' refusal to fund a new dorm. As always, Rethink College Park has the complete story, but local news outlets like ABC 7 have jumped on the story as well.

Meanwhile, the Department of Resident Life continues to insist that they are not planning to build any new dorms, causing the Diamondback to suggest that the University has been lying about what it would take to finance more student housing. While the plans to redevelop East Campus remain in place, they won't come to fruition until about 2015, leaving a good eight years of giddy anticipation before anything happens. It's appalling to think that the school would not even entertain temporary solutions to the housing crisis.

One possibility I keep coming to - so long as we've got kids living in tents - is modular housing: a trailer park, if you will. Catholic University already did it ten years ago by opening Curley Court, a "modular home community" in the center of campus with about twenty-five single-wide trailers, each housing four upperclassmen. It sounds (and looks) ridiculous, but if you were forced to choose between a trailer on campus or a house several miles away, which would you take?

The University - and the City of College Park - need to find a solution as quickly as possible. I don't understand how the school could be so patronizing to students who, four years ago, were promised on-campus housing their entire time here. I also don't understand how City neighborhoods could be so unwelcoming to the students (not the University) who give College Park its name. Something is clearly broken. Now, who's going to fix it?


Anonymous said...

I find the coverage of this laughable. One article in the Diamondback reports 639 students displaced another 556 students displaced, which is it? It's up to the University to fix this problem NOT the City of College Park. The students want to live on campus it's more affordable! Look at the poll the Diamondback did online...more ON CAMPUS housing is what is wanted not off campus housing. Catholic University is NOT renewing it's lease agreement with University Towers for next year, that should free up some rooms. Especially since Catholic will not be providing shuttle service to their campus from University Towers. This still does not solve the problem...ON CAMPUS housing is what the students want. THIS IS A UNIVERSITY PROBLEM!!!!!

David said...

Very good points Dan. I'm working with the SGA to broaden their scope beyond the Board of Regents to the university and PG COunty (which has zoning authority). We're asking that they rethink :) the Route 1 sector plan to give more incentives for student housing. My views are more succinctly laid out here:

And a larger finale protest is planned for Thursday. More details to come.

David said...

Dback Column

Anonymous said...

if you were forced to choose between a trailer on campus or a house several miles away, which would you take?

Honestly? What's the big deal about a house several miles away?

I went to UMCP for ugrad/grad school '93-'01. Commuted for three years to save money. Wasn't too proud to use public transportation, including the MetroBus -- the C2 route, as I recall.