Students voice opinions on new housing process change

Patrick Koster, News Editor

Ron Hicks is a SUNY Buffalo State senior dual majoring in theater and television and film arts. He has one or two more semesters until he graduates.

This year, he’s living comfortably in the Student Apartment Complex (STAC) on campus.

Next year, he isn’t sure where he’ll be living. As of now, his only option is moving back home in the Buffalo area, which he said would be really inconvenient.

Hicks decided to go back to school after attending Erie Community College. He’s been at Buffalo State for almost three years now. Throughout his time at Buffalo State, he’s been living in STAC.

“Long story short, I wanted to come back to school and I finally did,” Hicks said. “Unfortunately, I was in a very toxic living situation and moving on campus was the right thing to do at the time.”

But now, with the new housing selection process that gives first dibs to freshmen and sophomores, he’s on a waitlist for the same building he’s been living in since he arrived on campus.

“I think it’s ridiculous,” Hicks said. “In what bizarre world are we living in that that’s even remotely acceptable when someone who has been here, people who have been here, don’t even get first crack at their room that they’ve been in? It doesn’t make any sense at all, it’s completely unfair. I mean, what are they thinking?”

While Hicks may not know what Buffalo State is thinking, Vice President of Student Affairs Hal Payne had answers in last week’s issue of The Record.

“As long as we are committed to the idea that the freshmen and sophomores should live on campus, we must find room for them,” Payne told The Record last week. “The group that seems to therefore get priority in the assignment process which affects continuing and returning students is the incoming sophomores.”

Underclassmen make up a large portion of the student body, with freshmen accounting for 40 percent and sophomores accounting for 35 percent of the student population.

“The process we have now is one that I created many years ago and have been comfortable with,” Payne told The Record last week.

Payne was not available for comment this week.

Freshman early childhood education major Lavonnie Green said freshmen are limited to where they can live and that the new housing selection process shouldn’t matter.

“I feel like it’s good that we get first dibs on something because when it comes to registration and stuff, we always have to wait until last,” Green said. “We always get to pick last, so now we should be able to pick first. Juniors and seniors lived on campus long enough.”

Sophomore criminal justice major Naal Desravines is a resident of Tower 3 who is currently waitlisted for STAC or the Moore Complex next year.

“I do not feel it’s fair at all,” Desravines said. “Personally, I feel like Buffalo State is acting more like a business than acting like a school [and] caring for the students because it doesn’t make any sense to have freshmen choose first for the housing.”

Desravines thinks Buffalo State should create more living space before accepting more students.

While there isn’t more on campus housing currently, there are some plans in the works.

Director of Housing Kris Kaufman said a design process for renovation of Bishop Hall into a 200-bed residence hall has begun. Bishop Hall is scheduled to be open in Fall 2018, with renovations expected to be completed in Fall 2019 for Tower 2 and Fall 2020 for Tower 3. Plans of turning Tower 1 into a sophomore-only residence hall were also included in a new housing plan.

“The Housing Office and Residence Life Office is a $25M operation combined,” Kaufman said. “As such, we are cognizant of the business decisions that affect the overall operation of the Housing Office and Residence Life Office. As we are currently required to house first year and sophomore students who reside beyond a 35-mile radius from the campus, we must continually evaluate the ability to provide housing to students required to be housed as well as those who are not. ”

Hicks couldn’t agree more with Desravines.

“I agree totally,” Hicks said. “Okay, I realize they’re trying to get university status for Buffalo State College, I understand that. But that’s the single most ridiculous thing I can think of to accomplish – that goal. It doesn’t work. How are you going to do that? How are you going to alienate the people that have been here in favor of people who are just now showing up? I mean, that doesn’t… That isn’t… That is the most… It’s insulting when you get right down to it.”

For students like Desravines and Hicks, Kaufman said waitlists are nothing new.

“We have routinely had several hundred students initially placed on a housing wait list, at the time of the room selection process, who have subsequently received a housing assignment for the following year,” Kaufman said. “Historically we see a significant education amongst our returning students who initially request on campus housing only to subsequently cancel their request. We anticipate being able to provide housing to the students currently on the waitlist as we have done so in the past.”

Sophomore fashion merchandising major Heather Seidenberg said moving off campus can be expensive and it can be difficult at times to find roommates. She said Buffalo State should build more housing or implement a new system for housing selection.

“I just think it’s ridiculous that they let so many people come here but there’s not enough housing, so when people need housing, there just isn’t,” Seidenberg said. “So, it’s just frustrating.”

Hicks said he called the Housing Office and was under the impression that juniors and seniors will be moving off campus. He said there were no surveys sent to him asking about the housing selection process change.

“They didn’t ask anyone,” Hicks said. “And if they did, they certainly didn’t ask me.”

Hicks found out online at the end of last week that he was waitlisted. He said the reason he chose STAC was because it’s upperclassmen dorms, meaning everyone is supposed to hold a certain level of maturity.

“When you give underclassmen first shot at the upperclassmen dormitory, then what are you saying to upperclassmen?”

Hicks also brought up the question of what will happen to those upperclassmen residents who have been waitlisted whose homes are outside of the Buffalo area.

“I’m angry,” Hicks said. “This is insulting when you think about it. You don’t treat people like that. It’s not right.”


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