Residence Life offers new housing option to juniors

Andrea Wilson

The Office for Residence Life issued an announcement Monday about a new housing option for rising juniors living on campus next year.

The office has decided that the normally four-person units on West campus will be allowed to temporarily house five people if one or more of the residents plan to study abroad in the spring semester. The decision was made in response to a number of student requests, as well as the office’s anticipation that junior year will continue to be a popular time to study abroad.

Students were informed of the option in a mailed memo on Monday. Because of “some confusion over what was meant by a group of five,” an additional e-mail was sent out to the class to clarify the plan.

The Office for Residence Life is willing to consider a variety of scenarios that would apply. The e-mail provided an example of a group that has one student going abroad in the fall and two going abroad in the spring. With the new option, such a group could add a fifth person to the apartment to prevent the addition of a random person to fill the vacancy.

Students who live in groups of five in the fall will each be given a $500 cut on housing. However, if students remain in groups of five in the spring, instead of filling vacancies in other apartments, there will be no price deduction for the second semester.

Only students who received apartment assignments will be allowed to adopt a fifth resident.

Since the announcement earlier this week, students have been receptive to the plan.

“There has been no negative response from students because it’s completely voluntary,” Vice President for Student Life Rev. John Stack, O.S.A., said.

Stack explained that the bedrooms in the apartments are similar in size to the rooms on South campus, where many students were previously tripled. He added that the groups of five, unlike South campus groups of three, would have the benefit of a common room to give them more space.

Some students were disappointed that the option was not offered earlier, when they had not yet finalized their housing plans.

“I’m upset because we tried to talk to Residence Life about the problem before it became a problem, and they said it was against policy of Villanova to have that many in an apartment together,” sophomore Colleen Luxem said.

“Now they’re letting people do it after all.”

Stack explained that late timing of the announcement was the result of a number student requests over the past few months.

After talking the plan over, University officials determined that the average number of students living in the apartments over both semesters would not surpass the number allowed to be housed there, since there will be vacancies due to so many students studying abroad in the spring.

Residence Life has faced problems with housing shortages in the Class of 2005 since its arrival at the University because the class is exceptionally large. During their freshman year, many students from the class were tripled in double rooms in Katharine and St. Monica halls, and in their sophomore year, students were offered an apartment incentive to volunteer to live in triples in Good Counsel Hall.