Due to a housing shortage, all high rise rooms must accomodate one more person. Roommates will be randomly assigned. [NOTE: This article appeared in the annual joke issue.] With hundreds of students locked out of on-campus housing, the Office of Residential Living announced plans on Friday to squeeze extra people into each of the three high rises to ensure that all incoming freshmen receive housing. University President Judith Rodin ordered the move after her office received hundreds of letters and phone calls last week from parents of current students and potential incoming freshmen. The plan calls for every single in Harrison and Hamilton college houses to become doubles, while every double in Harnwell College House will become a triple and every triple a quad. Other residential halls will be unaffected. Housing officials estimate that this change will add about 500 beds to the 5,272-bed program, which should relieve the pressure that this year's enlarged freshman class added to Penn's residential system. "We know this will be an inconvenience to some students, but the fact that we have to do it at all really proves how successful the college house system has been," Director of College Houses and Academic Services David Brownlee said. Students who have already obtained on-campus housing in the high rises will receive letters in their mailboxes from Brownlee this week explaining how the change will affect them. Additional roommates will be randomly assigned, he said. "We'd like to give students the chance to pick their own new roommates, but it would be a logistical nightmare," Brownlee said. Many of those roommates will likely be freshmen who do not get housing in the traditional freshman residences -- the Quadrangle, Hill College House and King's Court/English House. Brownlee said that because of an increased number of upperclassmen choosing to stay in those residences, there are fewer beds available in those dorms for freshmen. Eighteen months ago, Penn announced an ambitious plan to overhaul its entire residential system by spending more than $300 million on renovations. That plan will add 1,000 beds to the system, mostly through building new dorms in Hamilton Village. But the overhaul is a 10-year program, and Penn will not see those additional facilities for several years. Brownlee, one of the architects of the college house system, said officials were caught by surprise by how quickly the number of students wanting to stay on campus increased. Last year was the first time since 1982 that students were turned away from the housing system. In the summer, the waiting list for housing reached 200 people, mostly transfer students who in the end spent most of their first semester living in the Sheraton Hotel. Rodin acknowledged last night that the move would be unpopular, but said students should "suck it up and deal." "What would they have me say to the potential incoming freshmen? Unless we take strong action, they will go elsewhere, and you know what that means -- a lower yield rate and a lower ranking in next year's U.S. News & World Report. And then I will never achieve perfect happiness," Rodin said. Penn Students Against Housing said yesterday they were against the new plan, and will show their opposition by becoming commuter students.Comments powered by Disqus
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