Housing overbooked for second year in a row

By Kevin Graham


A year after Oakland University’s dormitories were overbooked by 100 students, OU is again staring at the problem of an overpopulation of residents.

Oakland University has 31 students staying at Homestead Studio Suites on University Drive in Auburn Hills of that number three are female, according to University Housing officials. Students began moving into the rooms Sept. 1.

Although residents in the hotel will continue to pay rates as if they were on campus, Director of University Housing Jim Zentmeyer said the additional cost to the housing department will be minimal.

The housing department is funded separately from the university, so no tuition dollars would be used to fund the hotel stays.

Robbie Williford, current OU student congress vice president and former president of the Residence Halls Association, said the university is doing everything it can to keep up with demand.

“In some of the buildings, they were double rooms and they made them triple. They tripled the (George T. Matthews) Apartments,” he said. “In Hamlin, they had a floor where there were just people from different countries that would come study here. They opened that up to all students.”

Zentmeyer expects the housing situation to be very fluid leading up to student move-in and throughout the semester.

“Even into the first day of classes, we still receive information from students who at the very last minute change their mind with regard to either attending classes or living on campus,” he said. “We then re-utilize the space for a student that might be, on paper, in temporary housing today, but come the weekend may find themselves in permanent on-campus housing due to a cancellation that may have occurred between now and when we open.”

Zentmeyer said the transition between the hotel to permanent on-campus residents depends on the students involved, but can often take place in as little as a day or two after a room becomes available.

Residents at the hotel will be under the supervision of two resident assistants available to aid the students.

Senior Michael Kazmierski, an economics major and an RA on campus, said the housing department is doing its best to keep the students in the hotel engaged in the campus community.

“(Students) don’t want to feel removed from campus,” he said. “That’s why we have an RA over there. That’s why we have housing staff over there, to kind of help integrate them into campus.”

Katie Bumhoffer, a junior and president of the Residence Halls Association, said students’ mood on move-in day was positive.

“I can honestly say the mood was great, everyone was excited to be at Oakland, and even those checking in for off-campus housing were in good spirits,” she said.

OU has 2,100 beds available on campus, after accounting for nonrevenue-generating resident assistant beds.

While she said the only thing that would ultimately fix overcrowding problems is more housing, Bumhoffer feels like University Housing still has a lot to offer.

“I have never been part of a more welcoming community and have come to refer to these halls as my true home,”Bumhoffer said. “Clearly, there is a high demand for more living space on campus. With new residence halls, we would be able to offer what I consider to be one of the best college experiences to any student interested.”

According to University Housing officials, a new proposal to expand housing facilities is expected to come before the Board of Trustees in October.

The proposal would add 450 beds.