Editorial: Surprise housing restrictions a backhanded move by Rowan

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Rowan juniors and seniors were surprised and confused on March 21 when their housing selection options were restricted to only a select few properties. Many were frustrated and confused, not because of their choices, but because they’d been given no apparent notice of the changing policy.

Beginning in fall 2017, upperclassmen will no longer be permitted to select housing in the Townhouse complex, Edgewood Park Apartments or the Rowan Boulevard Apartment complex. Those students will now be required to select room assignments in 220 Rowan Boulevard or in two new university-affiliated housing buildings in the Rowan Boulevard area.

Travis Douglas, the assistant vice president for residential learning and inclusion programs at Rowan, said the policy adjustment came resulted from the increased number of students accepted to Rowan who then applied for housing. And because freshmen and sophomore students are required to live on-campus, that increase in students has pushed upperclassmen off campus and into university-affiliated housing. But materials promoting registration and providing instructions for students strangely failed to mention the new restrictions.

A brochure for housing selection details the process of registering for and selecting housing, but makes no mention of the new policy or the restrictions upperclassmen could expect on registration day. The web page devoted to housing registration and selection still makes no mention of the policy, as of April 5. A Rowan Announcer sent to student emails on March 21 (the day room selection opened to some upperclassman) advertises the new properties and the option available to students to live in them, but makes no reference to the restrictions. It directs students to the web page and brochure, which also fail to make light of the change.

Students expressed repeatedly to our reporters that the spaces being made available to them were certainly up to their standards, but that the shock of being denied the spaces they’d planned to choose had created headaches and confusion. More than that, it caused frustration for those students with preferences to live on different parts of campus because of the proximity those spaces offered to buildings where they spent most of their time for classes and clubs. Regardless of what the promotional materials say, downtown housing is still a long way from the center of Rowan’s campus. The further housing is pushed in that direction, the more of a burden it will create for those being asked to live there.

To be fair, the housing options are state-of-the-art and likely will be in wonderful condition. They are both new, and have thus far been given excessive publicity. Still, the lack of communication between the administration and its students was as if a fog-like something was being hidden from them. Students will be happy where they end up – as long as they can afford it – but unveiling policy changes as they come into effect is a backhanded move that certainly left some scars.

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