Lottery reveals housing shortage

Photo by Aaron Warnick | Photo Editor. Brottier Hall reached full capacity in last week’s lottery before juniors could choose.
Photo by Aaron Warnick | Photo Editor. Brottier Hall reached full capacity in last week’s lottery before juniors could choose.
Photo by Aaron Warnick | Photo Editor. Brottier Hall reached full capacity in last week’s lottery before juniors could choose.

By Brittney Jackson | The Duquesne Duke

After some Duquesne students raised concerns about a shortage in on-campus housing, University officials say they have no plans for any new dorm buildings.

Last week’s housing lottery left many students unsatisfied with their housing arrangements for next academic year.

Duquesne can accommodate approximately 4,000 residents on campus, Duquesne spokeswoman Bridget Fare said.

According to the Duquesne University 2014 Fact Book Preview, as of fall 2013, there were 6,038 undergraduate students and 3,946 graduate students enrolled.

Fare said that a shortage in housing has led to “creative use,” such as modified triples and the renovation of lounges into dorm rooms.

According to Daniel Cangilla, director of residence life, there were 93 rooms converted to triples in St. Ann’s Hall, Assumption Hall and Des Places Hall last fall. Cangilla said they are trying to reduce the number of forced triples for the freshman class of 2014, but it all depends on class size.

At the beginning of the fall 2013 semester, some freshman students were housed in Fifth Avenue apartments for two weeks before housing arrangements could be provided on campus.

The unique housing arrangements had a more positive impact than negative impact on students, Fare said. Triples allow Duquesne to offer campus housing to students rather than turn them away.

Some students prefer triples because the reduced rate makes the room more affordable. Fare said that during last week’s housing lottery, many students chose triples in Des Places and Vickroy before doubles in Assumption.

“Creating triples allows us to meet the significant demand for students who want to live on campus,” Fare said. “An alternative would be to not create these options—and instead turn people away.”

Fare said meetings with enrollment management, the budget office and residence life occur throughout the year to monitor the admission process and assess housing needs.

Cangilla said that residence life spends all year focusing on providing housing to students who are interested in living on campus.

“We know that not everyone gets their first choice, but we have tried to create a system that offers options,” Cangilla said. “We will continue to work with enrollment management to adapt to final enrollment figures as they become available.”

The building occupancy for dorm buildings has not exceeded city code, so housing is not overcrowded, Fare said.

However, Cangilla said that St. Ann’s Hall exceeded its original capacity by 121 residents and Assumption exceeded its original capacity by 19 students last fall. These figures are still in compliance with city code.

After last week’s housing lottery, 490 upperclassmen chose to live on campus, up from 420 students the previous year. There are no arrangements to build new dorms on campus. Currently, Duquesne has Brottier Hall, Des Places, Towers, Vickroy Hall, St. Ann Hall, St. Martin Hall and Assumption Hall.

Fare said that preliminary focus groups have been organized and surveys have been conducted regarding campus to assess campus housing.

The results of these focus groups and surveys found that students prefer apartment style housing and more students would choose to live on campus if more apartment style housing was available, according to Cangilla.

Students shared a variety of opinions about the housing lottery and their living arrangements for next year.

Jerry Lunanuova, a sophomore forensics major, said residence life mistakenly assigned his roommate, who is studying abroad in Germany, a junior lottery number instead of a senior lottery number.

“Residence life kept insisting that he had junior status and I was wrong but I kept telling them to check and sure enough he was senior status and he received a new lottery number, 40,” Lunanuova said.

The housing lottery was calling numbers in the 300s before Lunanuova realized there was a mistake. He and his roommate were still able to get a studio in Brottier Hall, but originally wanted to live in a quad with two others.

“Had the mistake not been made in the first place, we would have the ideal living situation that would have been a quad in Brottier,” Lunanuova said.

Colby Simpson, freshman digital media arts major, thinks that the housing lottery is a fair method for providing on campus housing.

“Honestly I think it’s a fair way to do it, unfortunately there is such a high number of students especially this year, so it was tough for people to get in,” Simpson said. “It’s really not Duquesne’s fault for the frustration during the housing lottery.”

Sophomore nursing major Cheyenne Bunnell pulled the lottery number 277 as a junior. Bunnell currently lives in Assumption and her future roommate lives in Vickroy. By the time their number was called there were no more rooms available in Vickroy or Des Places, so they had to live in Towers.

“You’ve been putting your money into Duquesne for three years now and I feel like you should be getting better housing,” Bunnell said. “My roommate lived in Vickroy last year and now she has to downgrade from having a suite and semi-private bathroom to a dorm room with communal bathrooms.”