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McMurtry addresses surplus housing with proposal to remove point bonus

By Jieya Wen     2/18/15 4:09pm

The McMurtry College government will vote on a proposal designed to encourage students to remain on campus at their Town Hall meeting on Feb. 17, according to McMurtry College Internal Vice President Sean Harger. The proposal intends to address McMurtry’s current housing surplus issue.

The proposal removes housing point bonuses given to students the year after they move off campus, which Harger said encourages students to move off campus. Therefore, one proposal is to remove the bonus for the people who move off campus voluntarily but keep the bonus for people who apply for on- campus housing but fail to get eligibility.

“We will no longer incentivize people to move off in order to encourage as many people to try to get on campus as possible,” Harger said. 

Whether to keep the bonus for students who get kicked off campus instead of voluntarily move off campus is more questionable, according to Harger. 

“The process of eligibility and being kicked off campus is as fair as it can be, and a bit impersonal,” Harger said. “That’s going to be a decision the college is going to have to come to.”

According to Harger, there are 324 beds at McMurtry, of which 100 are for freshmen, leaving 224 beds for current McMurtry students. Last year, the number of students who applied for on-campus housing was less than the number of available beds, Harger said.

“We don’t want to ever be in a situation again where we have to ask people to move back on campus, and it’s an awkward situation because they moved off, [so] they got a bonus,” Harger said. “We don’t know whether we should let them keep the bonus and move back or get rid of the bonus we promised them.”

Harger said the number of vacant beds led to non-McMurtry students living at McMurtry and some on-campus McMurtry students getting off-campus point bonuses. 

McMurtry sophomore Seth Berggren said he supports the removal of point bonuses for moving off campus to avoid repeating last year’s situation. 

“If we disincentivize people going off campus, we can hopefully retain more people on campus, which I feel would be a very valuable asset to college culture,” Berggren said. 

McMurtry sophomore Seyeon Cho said she does not support the proposal because she believes the removal of the point bonuses will make on-campus housing overly competitive and will not accurately reflect students’ preference. 

“Do you have to incentivize students to live on campus in order to improve the culture?” Cho said. “I feel like the order of problem and solution should be the other way around.”

At McMurtry, people who have declared senior status, as well as the college president, internal vice president, external vice president, the chief justice, scholarship athletes and students with documented disability have automatic eligibility for on-campus housing. Other McMurtry students will go through the eligibility jack, according to Harger. 

“We order those people by oldest, in terms of how long they have been at McMurtry,” Harger said. “The people who have been here the longest will be most likely to be kicked off campus. The only exception to this is anybody who declared senior status. In practice, the juniors are most likely to be kicked off.”

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