Continuing to advertise a service when you can no longer provide it to your customers can never be good. UNC Charlotte’s Housing and Residence Life’s website has continued to advertise their on-campus housing despite campus housing being nearly at capacity, which some people may find fault with. But the situation isn’t as bad as it may seem; UNC Charlotte has hit a new enrollment record of 29,710 students. With all the growth, on-campus housing is in high demand. The department of Housing and Residence Life has done everything to keep up with the high rate of demand for on-campus housing and isn’t at fault here because housing capacity isn’t and has never been 100% full. Can you blame them for trying to fill up spaces so their fixed costs won’t be wasted? Advertising of on-campus housing shouldn’t stop until there is absolutely no more space.
The pressure from students and the media should shift to state funders to invest more into expanding on-campus housing. The Housing department also preaches to students to apply early to get the spots they want, but according to members of the housing department, students who don’t apply in a timely manner blame the University for not getting what they want. Housing has never been at a 100% occupancy, but if every student were to apply, there would be no way everyone could stay on campus with only 6,200 beds available. The housing department knows this and has built relationships with off-campus housing through various programs that enable a student to have the same experience they’d have on-campus.
According to an article by the Charlotte Observer, UNC Charlotte has spent $1.2 billion on construction since 2005. While it’s admirable how much the University has developed on-campus housing since that time, the need for more development is greater than before. UNC Charlotte has the fourth highest enrollment ranking among 17 schools in the UNC system, a rate comparable to UNC Chapel Hill and NC State. UNC Charlotte currently has 17 residence halls. UNC Chapel Hill has 31 residence halls and NC State has 22 residence halls. More residence halls allow these universities who have similar enrollment numbers as UNCC to allow more students to stay on campus. Reports from the University’s home page also shows that UNC Charlotte is spending $250 million on campus development. This money is going towards the construction of a new recreation center, a new science building and a new hotel. Some of this money could also be spent on building more residence halls. On-campus housing isn’t full this year, but given the increasing enrollment rates, it may be in coming years.
In an article on WSOC-TV, freshman Stephen Zargo reported the difficulties of getting the room he wanted. “The housing I applied for, I wasn’t able to get it. It was really disappointing because I didn’t like living in a high-rise.” We don’t know Zargo’s complete situation, but the housing department guarantees that students who apply early enough will get the housing they want. Dr. Aaron Hart, the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, oversees housing and residence life at UNCC. In an interview, he spoke of the issues with students twisting the tale of blaming housing for not getting the room they want. “Every student, if they apply early enough, is guaranteed to get what they want, but they don’t apply early enough,” said Hart. “One of the things that I’m going to be honest about is a lot of our students…wait ’til the last minute, then they get upset about not getting their first choice. They say we don’t have housing.” He compared it to going to a restaurant by saying, “It’s kind of like going to a restaurant and they don’t have your dish and you say that they’re out of food. Well, that’s not true. They’re not out of food; they just don’t have what you want.” Ultimately, housing isn’t at fault here.
Critics of the housing department have said that on-campus housing will be even more scarce when UNC Charlotte tears down Moore and Sanford, two of the oldest residential buildings in South Campus. Hart countered that by referencing the past when the housing department easily accommodated every student that applied while Greek Village and Levine Hall were simultaneously under construction. Jacopo Vismara, a student who made the decision to live on-campus, had an issue with housing continuing to promise students any space they want when they know that everyone can’t get the spaces they want. “They told me I would get a single room in Moore, but I ended up sharing with someone else even after I confirmed with them many times.” said Vismara.
UNC Charlotte has continued to advertise housing because there is still space left. The University has set out certain guidelines to get the students the housing they want. It’s our job as students to play by the rules, be more attentive and trust that the housing department won’t let us down. The University will keep growing and the pressure should be brought down upon the shoulders of funders to build more, but for now, the Department of Housing and Residency Life can’t be blamed for trying to advertise something they’re actually still capable of giving students.