Tue. Jul 16th, 2024

Photo: The Residential Quad via On Campus Housing and Living

CORRECTION: This article was updated on Feb. 25, 2024 to provide accurate context around Wayne Hall’s occupancy status.

It’s that time of year again: the semester has started in earnest and West Chester students have been thrust into what can only be described as a housing battle royale, competing against their peers in an all-out bloodbath to have the coveted chance to live on campus. Despite all of the pressure that the university has faced over the past year to make housing more accessible to the student body, it seems that few changes have been made, if any. On the evening of Monday, Feb. 5, all students who still had time slots were informed that all of the available spaces had been filled, leaving hundreds on the dreaded waitlist.  

As an eight-floor dorm building stands vacant, off-campus rent prices are skyrocketing and more and more first-years are being accepted every year, it’s hard not to be frustrated with the lack of action taken by the university to remedy this ever-growing problem, especially after all of the urging from students, parents and faculty alike. Those who reach out to the housing office with concerns are usually met with perfunctory responses, often boiling down to the same hand-wringing baseline of “there’s nothing that we can do.”  

Students who decided to throw their hat into the ring of the Traditional Housing roulette were forced to pay a two-hundred dollar deposit up front — only for many of them to be denied housing entirely. Perhaps the most maddening aspect of the situation is that the university is clearly aware of the problem — students protesting en masse in the quad is hard to ignore — and yet they boast welcoming their largest freshman class in history for the second year in a row. There seem to be clear and simple solutions to at least begin to remedy the problem, and the only explanations that come to mind for why they are not being implemented come down to money-hungry greed. 

The housing crisis poses major problems not only for students who live far away from campus or have financial issues but also for those who are minorities: splitting up roommate groups last minute leaves students who are POC, LGBTQ+ and/or disabled scrambling to find roommates who are safe to live with.  

“As a trans man, college is a dangerous place for me to begin with,” sophomore Elijah McBride writes. “You never know who will respect you and who will try to beat you up. With housing so askew, I, and countless other students, have to choose between obtaining housing and safety. Rooming with someone random isn’t an option. The university doesn’t care until they have to fill out an incident report.” 

Indeed, queer and trans students who have expressed these concerns to the housing department have been met with the response that the university can only take action if an issue with the randomly assigned roommates arises. 

As bright-eyed high schoolers eagerly tour the campus, disillusioned WCU students worry about having to transfer or drop out because the university refuses to address the issue, instead letting it snowball with every passing year.  

Welcome to the annual West Chester Housing Games! And may the odds be ever in your favor. 

 


Gwendolyn Nolen is a second-year English major with a minor in Theatre. GN992114@wcupa.edu.

One thought on “The WCU Housing Crisis is Back, and Worse Than Ever”
  1. This happened to me last year and I had to transfer, even studio apartments close by were too expensive to consider :/ then they tried to bill me for “room damages” months after I left only to have zero evidence. They’re greedy and let their students suffer bc of it.

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