Carolina Housing prioritizes beginning the initial room selection process earlier in the year instead of waiting until summer, when off-campus housing is difficult to attain, leaving many students to wait in uncertainty for on-campus housing.
“What we’ve heard from students is that because they’re looking at other options, they would rather know now where they could get and where they are assigned, but the challenge of that is that, because it’s so early, we don’t have the opportunity to give everyone an assignment right now,” Bradley said.
Currently, there are around 50 more students unassigned to housing than in previous years at this time. Bradley said in the 23 years he’s worked at UNC, Carolina Housing has never been unable to provide housing to every student who applied.
Last year, Carolina Housing was in the same position with unassigned students but, by the start of classes the next year, there were 60 vacant beds.
Still, for first-year Emma Wissman, who currently lives in Granville Towers and decided to stay on campus for her sophomore year, the separation of an intended group of suitemates was upsetting. Wissman and her roommate were split up from the eight-person suite they wanted in Morrison Residence Hall and instead had to pick a hall-style room in Winston Residence Hall.
“The housing contract, you’re not allowed to back out unless you pay the $300 fee, so now we’re just kind of stuck in there because neither my roommate or I want to pay that fee," Wissman said. "Now we’re stuck on a hall with a bunch of strangers, and that wasn’t the point of us wanting to live on campus."
Campagna wrote a letter to the Dean of Students and Carolina Housing, detailing her situation and sharing ideas she believes could be possible solutions to what she views as a flawed housing system.
“I really want to change the system so that even if it doesn’t work out for my year, maybe for the students that come in after us won’t have to deal with this because it’s been incredibly stressful and upsetting. We had this plan in the works and I was going to get to live with my friends, and it was going to be so much fun,” Campagna said. “And now, it’s all uncertain. I don’t know what’s going to happen, and especially having all this happen the week before finals, has just been a monumental stressor.”
Both Campagna and Wissman think Carolina Housing’s process could improve if larger or eight-person roommate and suitemate groups were given priority over smaller or single-person groups. Campagna said another solution would be to keep the registration slots the same but assign the rooms one-by-one to fill up suites with students electing to go for a random roommate instead of allowing these students to take up spots in empty suites that larger groups desire.
“I think it would be beneficial if Carolina Housing allowed the people who signed up with full eight-person suites to register before those who only had two or three or four people, because by the time we got to register, there were no full suites left,” Wissman said. “I know I’m not the only one who had a full suite who didn’t get to register, and there were so many different roommate groups who were broken up, and I think that really is something that they need to fix for next year.”
Bradley, however, said Carolina Housing has explored this idea before in the Housing Advisory Board, comprised of RHA executive board members and around 30 students. The board has generally disapproved of this notion.
“Generally, people feel that just because you have a larger group shouldn’t necessary trump somebody who is just a one-person or two-person group into the space, so that’s kind of where we’ve defaulted, that I might have a lot of friends and be able to fill the suite but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the person who’s by themselves shouldn’t, based on their class ranking, be able to get a space just like I would,” Bradley said.