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On-campus housing numbers drop

By Hallie Jordan     4/22/10 7:00pm

Extra space - previously a rare phenomenon in terms of on campus housing - is apparently abundant for the fall of 2010.McMurtry College and Duncan College are still not filled to capacity, even with a high number of freshmen assigned to them for next year, Associate Dean of Undergraduates Matt Taylor said. The colleges should be fully occupied for the fall of 2012, he said.

"There is some benefit to moving McMurtry and Duncan toward capacity," Taylor said. "From a financial point of view, we want to fill as many beds as possible while relieving the sense around campus that beds are not available. As a university community we want to give students on-campus housing."

Interest in transferring to the two new colleges does not seem to be waning.

Taylor estimates he receives one transfer request per day since the round of invites to freshmen went out last fall, he said. There have now been 28 approved transfers, representing almost every college, Taylor said.

Students requesting transfers include those who got an original invitation but turned it down and reconsidered, students who were bumped off campus at other colleges and those who would like to transfer because their friends are transferring, Taylor said.

However, off-campus students hoping to gain housing at the new colleges will not just be stopping by.

"So far, we are requiring that they transfer their college membership," Taylor said. "This is not a hotel opportunity. There is strong opinion at both colleges that this next year is really important for them to have those buildings as their own."

Taylor described the first round of invitations to the new colleges to be a sort of "golden ticket" process, intended to help spike interest.

"I expected the first round to produce more transfers than it did," Taylor said. "[However,] I believe there really was sort of genuine and friendly interest in the new colleges."

Though previously the college with the highest number of transfer acceptances, Taylor said that Jones has been quiet.

"I think the message got through to Jones that they have reached their cap," he said.

Martel College also currently has an excess of seven beds. After assigning too many freshmen to Martel in the past, the planned number of incoming first-year students assigned to the college was lowered to 76 from about 93 for the matriculating class of 2014, Taylor said.

As a result, Martel was left with 15 empty beds. McMurtry and Duncan Colleges said they felt they were given too many freshmen, so their numbers had to be reduced by four each. Subsequently these eight freshmen have been reassigned to Martel, giving them a planned total of 84 freshmen, and leaving seven empty beds, Taylor said.

"It is up to Martel if they fill those with students off of their waitlist or fill them with new transfer students who are assigned to Martel," Taylor said.

The current plan is to reserve all Martel beds for Martel students only.

"This is the number [84] that the Martel Coordinator was comfortable with," Taylor said. "We could have taken more freshmen from Baker and Lovett, but they thought having three years of the bowling ball going through the snake was not healthy for them."

One-third of each college's beds are normally held for incoming freshmen, Taylor said.

Martel College Coordinator Maria Byrne, Vice President Erik Tanner and President Kevin Tran declined to comment.

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