Residential life cracks down on underground campus housing market
Published: Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, March 5, 2013 23:03
The University of Connecticut’s office of Residential Life is taking strides to close the loopholes in the housing selection process that make the underground on-campus housing market feasible.
In the midst of the ever stressful housing selection process which kicked off Monday morning, students have turned to Facebook to buy, sell or transfer housing pick times.
Students have been posting ads in a public Facebook group titled “Housing,” offering cash, room reservation fees and room cancellation fees to anyone willing to pull them and, in some cases, their friends, into a desired housing location, according to UConn’s Director of Housing Services, Pamela Schipani.
“We’ll give you $100 for a pick time,” said one anonymous ad, read over the phone in an interview with Schipani.
Residential Life was tipped off to this activity after receiving an email from a frustrated student who was disappointed with his pick time. He went on to send several screenshots of posts from the Facebook group to their office, according to Schipani.
Officials from Residential Life have met with eight individuals this year in regards to either selling, buying or transferring pick times.
These students were reprimanded by having their pick times pushed back and lost the privilege of pulling roommates into housing, according to Schipani.
All of the students caught and addressed admitted to partaking in this activity and claimed that they did not know that doing so was against the housing contract.
The housing contract states, “Housing selection times are non-transferrable. Continuing students who are eligible to participate in the 2013-2014 Online Housing Selection Process cannot transfer/sell their eligibility to any other student.”
This policy was added to the contract three years ago when Residential Life first became aware of students buying, selling and transferring pick times.
“They [students] don’t really read the contract until it affects them,” Schipani said.
These trades often include a student, who is planning to live off campus, using their housing pick time to pull students with later pick times into better housing and then cancelling, according to Schipani.
To help combat this issue Residential Life no longer allows potentially graduating seniors to apply for housing. If a senior does apply for housing, Residential Life then looks at a list of all seniors who have applied for May’s commencement ceremonies. If they are on that list they are denied housing.
This helps to prevent seniors with no intention of living on campus from buying, selling or transferring their pick times.
Residential Life decided to send out an email Monday afternoon to inform students that this behavior is in fact against housing policy, according to Schipani, and can result in the loss of housing or a later pick time, after receiving several anonymous emails containing pictures of unofficial “housing ads.”
The email reads, “It has come to the attention of Residential Life staff that some students are attempting to buy, sell or transfer selection times/picks… Students found soliciting the selling, buying, or transferring of selection times/picks will have their housing selection options changed. Students found responsible for actually buying, selling or transferring selection times/picks may lose the privilege of living on campus.”