The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Thursday July 7th

Housing concerns: Department shouldn’t hire outside help right now

Another outside firm has been hired to do consulting for UNC — this time at a cost of up to $100,000.

But why can’t UNC’s Department of Housing and Residential Education identify opportunities for improvement on its own?

The firm, Brailsford and Dunlavey, specializes in housing facility planning and development.

The study would identify opportunities for housing improvements on and off campus. It would also aid in the development of a cohesive housing strategy before new projects begin.

Now isn’t the best time to be spending $100,000, especially when it will not help address any specific problem.

Rick Bradley, assistant director of the housing department, said the study is aimed at developing a future housing plan for four properties.

Part of the purview of the study is to determine what students want in any new housing development. Bradley stated that an outside firm is likely to get more candid responses from students than the housing department.

Again, a serious cost-benefit analysis needs to be done here.

Outsourcing student questioning for a substantial price seems to be unnecessary. The study addresses no immediate problems that the University is unable to solve and collects data that does not seem to require a sophisticated level of expertise.

While Bradley said contracting outside firms is common practice for this sort of thing, it’s not clear there’s a pressing need here.

Current budgetary constraints facing UNC require cutbacks across the board. This money can be better spent.

UNC is a world-class research institution and has an entire department devoted to housing.

Surely we are capable of identifying opportunities for improvement within our housing system, especially when money is tight. That is why we have administrators.

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