Now that AAUP contracts are resolved, let’s work on housing

By Postie Editors

Welcome back, Grizzlies. We hope you’re as happy to start the new school year as we are.

Fortunately for everyone, the American Association of University Professors and Oakland University managed to resolve differences and agree on a contract without resulting in a strike (see pages 8 and 9 for more information.)

Though we’re glad the contracts were resolved (and selfishly a little sad because we missed out on some excellent journalism experience), Oakland still has a lot of work to do — and not just with the AAUP.

For the second consecutive year, the university has put 75 rooms at the Homestead Studio Suites hotel on reserve for overbooked housing students.

While we understand overbooking because some college students are known to be indecisive, it’s clear students want to stay here and they’re sure of it.

Oakland’s five-year capital outlay plan for the fiscal year 2013 shows there has been a 35 percent increase in enrollment since 1998 and that Oakland has the lowest building square footage per student of any of the 15 public Michigan universities.

Enrollment is expected to grow to 21,002 by 2016, according to the outlay plan. Because of this, more buildings should follow suit.

In 2009, a master plan was drafted by both University Housing and Vice President of Student Affairs Mary Beth Snyder. Drafted to expand on-campus residence until 2030, the plans start with a horseshoe-shaped facility near Vandenberg Hall and then expand to the upper playing fields. The entire project is expected to cost the university $27.8 million, leaving Oakland with a total of 3,764 beds on campus.

Though the plans are not set in stone and constantly change, they adhere to the university’s master plan to have 4,000 residential students living on campus by 2030.

Great.

However.

The ever-pertinent housing issue keeps being placed on the back burner.

Housing was briefly discussed at the March 28 Board of Trustees meeting, was supposed to be discussed at the cancelled June meeting and never saw the light of day at the Aug. 4 meeting.

University President Gary Russi told The Oakland Post that housing is a project the university wants to do immediately, but nothing has been initiated yet.

We understand that $27.8 million is a lot of money, but it’s nothing compared to the hefty price tags of the $64.4 million Human Health Building and $74.6 million OU Engineering Center.

Housing facilities operate on a different budget than educational buildings and once built, they’re profit generators.

So what’s the problem then?

We’re not sure, either.

We’re hoping this second round of displaced students will finally ignite these plans and the long needed building will finally surface.