“They kind of made it into a positive,” he said. “They did bring up the issue that it might bring some ordeals up, but they were kind of good problems as opposed to a bad problem, which would be like not having enough students — it’s kind of like a happy thing, or at least that’s the way it seemed presented to me.”
Blattner said Housing would rather have a high occupancy than have empty rooms.
“It is our goal always to house and be as full as we can because that means we’re making housing available to the most number of students we can,” he said.
Pontillo said he has felt a change in attitude from recent years toward room reassignments. He described two instances in which he felt his supervisors chose to prioritize reassignments for residents with more serious issues over those who preferred a roommate change for less pressing reasons.
Pontillo said he has felt the increased pressure of mitigating conflict this year as opposed to last year.
“In terms of the 99.7 percent capacity, they were like, ‘We’ll handle situations as they come up and get people moved, but keep in mind – and make sure to tell your residents – that we are at high capacity,” he said.
Although Pontillo said he felt the effects of this change, first-year Maddie Cagle said her room reassignment was handled quickly.
“It was very simple. It was like a ten-minute conversation and she already had me a new room and a new assignment,” Cagle said. "She wanted me to move in the day after that.”
Blattner said students requesting room reassignments are either moving on-campus from off-campus housing, looking for a different room location or are residents who are having problems with their current roommate.
“Obviously our priority here, with the limited number of spaces we have to make these kinds of adjustments, is to the folks who are having issues in their room,” he said.
Blattner said he does not believe occupancy will get any closer to 100 percent during the academic year.
“Normally if we’re full, we go into the year full because now we will start to have people that, for whatever reason, leave school or leave housing," he said. "So typically, we’re at our fullest right around mid-August."
According to the Carolina Housing strategic plan, the aggregate retention rate for residents has been between 97 percent and 98 percent from the fall of 2015 to spring of 2017.
Yet, Blattner said high occupancy rates will not affect reassignments for people with roommate problems.
“I would hate for the thought that, ‘Oh, there aren’t good options available,’ to dissuade people from coming forward," he said. "Because we do have options and we can help."