Campus Living reports 37% reduction in on-campus housing assignments
‘Many students cancelled their housing applications’ before July 31 deadline
UB will have significantly fewer students living on campus this semester.
Campus Living is reporting a 37% reduction in on-campus housing assignments, from 7,864 students in fall 2019 to 4,817 students in fall 2020. This figure does not include residential advisors, community assistants or academic assistants.
None of the residence halls and apartments will be filled to capacity: Ellicott Complex will host 2,058 students; Governors Complex will have 635 students; Greiner Hall will have 501 students; and the apartment complexes will together host 1,623 students.
Jessica Kane, assistant director for communications and marketing initiatives for Campus Living, chalked the reductions up to two big changes: a reduction in room density and the rollout of a new class schedule that predominantly features remote classes.
Kane said in a statement that UB conducted an “in-depth analysis of all rooms and apartments” and determined that the dorms should have a maximum student-to-bathroom fixture ratio of 8:1. Because of this change, UB saw a “decrease of approximately 900 beds.”
Critics say that UB could have further reduced on-campus housing capacity and provided alternative forms of enforcing COVID-19 precautions.
In July, UB revealed different options for class instruction, and “many students cancelled their housing applications” when they learned they could take their course load remotely, Kane said.
The vacancies allowed Campus Living to relocate students from South to North Campus and turn Goodyear Hall into a place for students to quarantine.
Goodyear was chosen because it is located near Student Health Services, is completely removed from the rest of campus and “can accommodate the need for private bathrooms,” Kane said.
Students required to quarantine on South Campus will be “provided a welcome letter via email that provides instructions” for check-in, contacting staff with concerns, information about meal orders and delivery and instructions on how to evacuate during an emergency. Additionally, they may have access to disposable linens, trash collection and clothing laundering, if needed.
In a complaint filed with the New York State Department of Health last month, the UB Living Stipend Movement argued that students returning to campus from states with increasing infection rates “pose a serious danger to custodial, transportation, and dining staff, as well as their instructors.”
As schools around the country — from the University of Alabama to Syracuse University — are struggling to prevent new cases, Kane is cautiously optimistic that students will be able to remain safe in the dorms.
“As with any situation, we will be dependent on individual community members, including faculty, staff and students, to hold themselves, and each other responsible,” Kane said. “We do have faith that the students who are living on campus understand their role in preventing the spread of COVID-19 to the greatest extent possible by wearing masks, washing their hands, and maintaining their physical distance.”
Justin Weiss is the senior features editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org