Random assignments create housing inequality

Granada Apartments

File Photo

Granada is one of many on-campus housing complexes housing students.

by Emily Alvarenga

Freshmen at San Diego State have to endure the dorms for a year. If we aren’t in SDSU’s local admission boundary, we are required to pick a room type, a meal plan and then wait for our room assignment.

According to SDSU’s admissions website “you are in SDSU’s local admission area if you graduate from a high school in San Diego County located south of state route 56 and extending eastward, or a high school in Imperial County.”

That boundary is less than 25 miles, giving only a few freshmen the option to live at home. After the many non-local students are required to live on campus, it’s a game of luck–you’re put in dorms randomly and you’re lucky if you get one of the newer, nicer ones, such as Cuicacalli Suites or University Towers. But next year, the game is getting even harder.

SDSU decided to change things up this past year. On Sept. 30, it bought the Granada on Hardy apartments for $25.7 million. Located within walking distance to campus, this four-story apartment complex is one of the more luxurious ones within the campus boundaries. Only three years old, the buildings are still fairly new and you can definitely tell.

What are they planning to do with these newly acquired apartments? Well, SDSU also recently decided to renovate Zura Hall, one of the oldest residence halls. Renovations are scheduled to begin May 2014 through June 2015 and will take away housing space for approximately 550 freshmen. To house all of these students, SDSU has decided to make Granada and another school-owned apartment complex, Piedra del Sol, available to incoming freshmen next year.

Let that sink in for a moment. As residents living on campus, we all know how atrocious the older dorms are and we had to suffer through them just as the generations before us. [quote]And now incoming freshmen are going to have the opportunity to live in an apartment like Granada? Something doesn’t seem fair here. [/quote]

And the cherry on top? Incoming freshmen are still not going to be able to pick which dorms they want to live in. In past years, SDSU had a very different system. Only two years ago, students were able to give their preference of dorm buildings, and the school would try to accommodate everyone they could. Accordingly, they had to pay more for the nicer dorms, such as University Towers or Cuicacalli, and less for the older dorms, such as Zura or Tenochca. Now, the only changes in price are for various meal plans and whether you would like a single, double or triple occupancy. How is that fair to anyone?

“As a sophomore, I was one of the ones who actually had the opportunity to choose where I wanted to live,” business sophomore Tasha Lambon said. “I didn’t want to pay a lot, but I didn’t want to live in the disgusting dorms. So I compromised and choose a triple in Cuicacalli. It was the best decision I could’ve made. I don’t know how Housing thinks it’s fair to make the selection random when there is such a big difference in the quality from hall to hall.”

Well, I don’t either. The older dorms are obviously more run-down. SDSU should go back to its old ways and let the students be the ones who decide. [quote]Yes, most freshmen will want to live in the nicer dorms, but the system should be done on a first come, first serve basis. [/quote]And not all freshmen will be able to afford the better dorms, so that will even out the picking even more. By not allowing students to choose their residence hall, SDSU is going to create more problems in the long run. If they don’t allow the students to choose, then unhappy students are going to not only complain more, but also will likely request room changes even more frequently, if not protest the housing office for this obvious lack of equality. Hopefully the Office of Housing Administration can come up with some sort of solution, or else next year will bring all kinds of troubles. At least come next fall, current freshmen won’t have to deal with the dorms any longer. I doubt the incoming Aztecs will feel that way.

Photo by Sarah Smith, staff photographer

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