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Increase in class size causes housing scramble

Near the end of July, UNC students received calls asking if they would be willing to move out of their current dorms. The calls were coming from Carolina Housing and, due to the nature of their request and other recent changes to student housing, some of the students receiving these calls were confused.  

Kelsey Smith, a sophomore living in Cobb, was a recipient of one of these calls.  

“I got a call in late July. They didn’t tell me their name, basically asking if I would switch out of Cobb and into a housing place, but never said where,” Smith said. 

She said that the caller mentioned that he could see that Cobb was not her housing group’s first choice, but still did not mention what the alternative might be. She never received a call after that updating her on the situation. 

“I asked where would we go, what were the other options, and he said he didn’t have an answer,” Smith said. 

While the late summer calls seemed random to students, Director of Housing and Residential Education Allan Blattner said that the recent changes in housing were all part of the plan.  

“A couple of years ago we had significant vacancies, so we needed to do something to improve the quality of life on campus,” Blattner said. 

Housing decided, based on student data, to begin reassigning certain residential halls to incoming first years and turn previously first-year-only halls into non-first-year halls. The buildings in Olde Campus Lower Quad became first- year residences while Hardin and Craige North became mixed class residences. 

Rick Bradley, the associate director of housing, said these changes were based on student response.

 “It had been requested through our data that upperclassmen have larger rooms," Bradley said. "Both of those buildings have those larger rooms."  

The adjustments and housing assignments were finalized, until the admissions office informed Housing that the University was receiving a higher number of first-years than expected. 

 “Admissions let us know that our yield was higher, so we had about 150 additional students we needed to house between us and Granville,” Bradley said.  

This shock to the system meant that Housing now had to find more rooms after assignments had been completed. Blattner said his team had to scramble to figure out what to do with the surplus of students. 

The solution required asking students in Cobb and Craige North to move into different rooms in the same residence or to a different building. Craige North had previously been a first-year residence hall, but because housing added non-first-years to the hall earlier in the summer, the surplus of incoming first-years had nowhere to go. 

Blattner said that they could've just placed first-years in any available vacancy, but they wanted to keep the first-years together.  

“We have found the more successful approach here is to move the upper-class students to create blocks of first-year space," Blattner said.  

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