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The Daily Tar Heel

Editorial: Carolina Housing, do better

Items from a student's dorm sits in a pile outside Hinton James Residence Hall on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. Students began to move out of various residence halls on campus after the announcement that all undergraduate classes would be moving online for the Fall 2020 semester.

The time has come for shopping carts to be filled, for professors to be scrutinized on Rate My Professors and for spreadsheets of the best courses at UNC to be shared on Twitter. It is, after all, registration season. 

And, as with the change of the weather and the onset of a new year ahead, it’s now time for Carolina Housing to screw its students over — again.  

It’s time again for the organization that houses over 8,500 students in a normal year to go against its own mission and fail to support the students of UNC — this time through its spring housing contract.  

The priority deadline for Carolina Housing’s spring housing application is Nov. 15 at 5 p.m.

While that deadline might not seem daunting — aside from it being another date to worry about as we approach finals — it hides behind a concerning monetary facade. 

The housing contract for the spring semester includes stipulations that require students to pay $300 if they cancel their housing contract on or before Dec. 10; 50 percent of the room rent if they cancel from Dec. 11 to Jan. 11; or prorated rent plus the 50 percent charge after Jan. 12. 

And according to Carolina Housing, by signing the contract, you commit to remaining in on-campus housing “regardless of the mode of instruction for your Spring 2021 classes.”

This means Carolina Housing doesn’t care if your course load is fully online once you sign your life — or rather your housing — away. 

All the while, students who are looking to take classes in the spring won’t be able to begin the registration process until Nov. 30. This means students likely won’t know where they physically need to be or go until mid-December. They don’t know whether to consider Carolina Housing as a living option or not. 

This choice, if students are wrong about what their needs are, could cost them between $300 and $1,700. 

And while there’s a bit of beauty to ConnectCarolina and its shopping cart that allows students to look ahead at what modes of instruction they might have and what classes they may take — every student knows the shopping cart is yellow and blue more than it is green.

This means students who might ambitiously plan for an all-online semester up until registration (nearly two weeks after the priority deadline to apply for housing) could run into one or two classes that would make living on campus essential. Or, on the flip side, students may find themselves all online and essentially have to pay a fee to move back home. 

This compromising position that Carolina Housing is forcing upon hundreds of students is wildly unfair, as it is nearly impossible to foresee the future of classes before you can even register for them.

This leaves the Editorial Board with a myriad of questions:

  1. Did Carolina Housing bother to work with the Registrar’s Office on their schedule when considering the spring housing contract?
  2. Did Housing think about what students might struggle with if they have to find alternative living arrangements amid a student housing boom off campus?
  3. Does Carolina Housing actually work “to provide convenient housing that is safe, inclusive and supportive?”
  4. When will Carolina Housing stop sucking money from UNC students?
  5. Haven’t they done enough?

Carolina Housing: do better. 


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