Extended stay university

Welcome to the 2013-2014 Oakland University academic year.

Oakland University is a public university spread across a 1,444-acre estate, with approximately 20,000 students. Of those students, approximately 15 percent live on campus, according to US News.

That is, of course, unless you count those who are made to live in off-campus hotels.

Once again, just like 2011-13, Oakland University’s housing department has more student-residents than it has student residences, resulting in a number of students paying for a “campus life” experience they’re not getting.

Instead, 130 beds have been reserved at the Extended Stay Suites. Just as in the past two years, presumably the expectation is that the situation will work itself out. While this plan apparently worked the first two years, one can only roll the dice so many times before crapping out.

Students will hypothetically be removed from classes or drop of their own volition, thus freeing up on-campus space for those whose “campus life” consists of a hotel and bus rides. At least, that’s what University Housing seems to be banking on.

As educators, they should know better.

Oakland University’s own Housing site shows 2,092 beds available, not counting the Greek Row houses. It would seem logical to limit booking to that many student-residents.

From advertising and marketing to economics and business, students in all sorts of classes are given hypothetical budgets to work with. If a student came in with a budget sheet that far exceeded what was originally allotted, the instructor would probably issue a failing grade.

But this is the third year in a row in which University Housing has exceeded its budget. While a new residence hall is being built, perhaps University Housing should have waited until after its completion before inviting 130 or more extra students to live on campus. 

And this only applies to those students who receive hotel stays, or those “not within driving distance.” What is to become of those who missed out on campus life and still live within driving distance?

If this happened once or twice, it would just seem like somebody dropped the ball. After the third year, it starts to seem like overbooking is all part of the plan.

Oakland University Housing would do well to inform students of any housing changes before move-in day. This would prevent students showing up, only to find themselves in hotels or without a room at all.

Our instructors often give us the advice to avoid putting things off until the last minute. We were under the impression this was good advice for working professionals as well.

In a college – a place that prepares us to plan ahead and brace for contingencies – students should not have to wait until move-in day to find out whether they’re actually going to move in.

Students affected by this situation would do well to make their voices heard. The message is clear that unless somebody says or does something, this situation will only continue.

You can start by letting us know about your current housing situation. Our inbox is always open.

The staff editorial is written weekly by members of The

Oakland Post’s editorial board.