I want to start this article off by saying that I don’t intend to push blame entirely on Drexel’s administration for the issue discussed here. I recognize that there are far more variables that go into managing a private university in the middle of a city than I could possibly know about, and I do not presume to know more than the average student does. All I wish to do is attempt to clarify and voice a common public opinion.
That being said, I find the administration’s handling of the housing situation here at Drexel painfully irresponsible.
For the readers who may be passing through, or for newer students who haven’t experienced the joys of paying for housing out of pocket, I’d like to describe the situation.
Drexel University currently owns 10 residence halls: Kelly Hall, Millennium Hall, Myers Hall, Race Street Residences, Towers Hall, Van Rensselaer Hall, North Hall, Caneris Hall, Bentley Hall and Stiles Hall. Of these 10 halls, the first six (and most of Caneris) are exclusively reserved for first-year students. Stiles is predominantly graduate housing and Bentley is only for students in the Honors College.
Since there are close to 20,000 upperclassmen at Drexel, and it takes at least seven residence halls to house around 5,000 freshmen, it’s safe to say that getting a spot in Caneris Hall isn’t a reliable option.
And that’s okay! Being a city school, it’s understandable that Drexel tends to run into space issues. Every city school runs into this problem, and since Drexel doesn’t own much of University City, there isn’t much that can be done.
The reason everyone is upset about housing is that what can be done hasn’t been done well.
Drexel entered an agreement with the American Campus Community (ACC) to run a handful of high-occupancy apartment buildings at, frankly, ludicrous rates. Yes, the apartments are all safe and conveniently located, but the prices — $1,100 a month per person for a small four-person apartment — combined with the fact that Drexel requires second-year students to use these buildings has led to a fair amount of anger in the student body. Those “town hall” events that the administration and the ACC hold every so often have taken place without the price and lack of options being brought up.
And still, they ignore us. Drexel has introduced no new housing (except for re-opening Bentley after renovation), the prices have stayed the same, and the rules stay where they are. If there’s some problem with providing housing, or some need to restrict second-years, why not tell us? Do we not have the right to know why nothing is changing? Do we not pay enough tuition to deserve that information? Yes, there’s an exemption form for second-year students from campus housing, but why do we need to apply for exemption from an unfair rule?
Next year I’m moving off-campus to share a three hundred square foot studio apartment for about $1,500 a month. By any sane standard, that’s hilariously expensive for a small room, but I look forward to moving day every morning.