UPDATED: Housing on campus is uncertain for some OU students

UPDATED%3A+Housing+on+campus+is+uncertain+for+some+OU+students

By Kevin Graham

Students who applied later in the housing assignment process are now residing in three different area hotels.

            103 students are being housed at Extended Stay Suites locations in the area. The locations are on University Drive across from campus, and other hotels on Doris Road and Featherstone Road in Auburn Hills. Bear Bus vans are running until 11 p.m. to transport students.

            Zentmeyer said all existing space has been assigned.

            Assignment continued up until move in this year. Michael McCord was among those who waited for assignment.

            McCord, a junior transfer from Oakland Community College majoring in criminal justice, said that despite applying two or three weeks before the July 1 deadline, he had yet to hear anything about his room or his roommate.

            “I’m just kind of concerned,” McCord said. “The whole point of moving into housing is just to kind of  get that college experience. Now that I’ve kind of been approved for everything else between financial aid and all that, it’s kind of upsetting to know that I don’t have a room yet for me to live these two semesters.”

            Demand for housing has exceeded capacity each of the last two years. This has led the university to construct a new residence hall which is scheduled to be completed September 2014.

            In the meantime, OU is experiencing some growing pains.

            While OU does not guarantee dorm space, University Housing Director Jim Zentmeyer said OU had previously reserved 130 beds for students affected by the shortage at area hotels. This number has grown from the previous years.

            An unspecified number of students have moved into the hotel.

            Raquel Wills, a senior majoring in health sciences, planned to live on campus for the first time this year. Instead, she gave up her room assignment after not being notified about it until August 28.

            “I was unaware I was getting an apartment so I didn’t prepare for move in at all which was September 1st,” she said. “I have no time or money to get everything I would need so I of course cancelled.”

            Wills had selected the George T. Matthews Apartments because they seemed close to the condo living she was hoping for. She said that she was not told three people would be in a two-bedroom apartment. 

            “I would (have) never applied for (Matthews) if I knew there was a possibility I would have to share a room,” Wills said. “The whole point of being in an apartment is having your own space.”

            Wills is now on the hook for a $200 cancellation fee. She said the experience would leave her better prepared if she applied again.

            Zentmeyer explained what the late assignees had in common.      

            “The common denominator is submitting an approved housing application on a timely basis,” he said. “Returning students who did not sign up for housing until after the returning student sign-up month in March, transfer students who applied later in the process and freshmen who applied later in the process.”

            He said that individuals that are no longer planning on attending OU for whatever reason are identified throughout the check-in process. The situation is very fluid.

            McCord, who has been into the housing office a few times to check on the status of his application, was told the hotel was being reserved for students not in driving distance.

            “When I talked to them,” he said, “it sounded as though it was temporary housing for those that were kind of far away when school starts. Then when they had more room, they would kind of move you into the permanent housing.”

            The Oakland Post will update this story throughout the week.