Lehigh welcomed back first-year students to campus this fall. Around 200 non first-year students petitioned to be able to live on-campus. (Courtesy of Wikipedia Creative Commons)

Over 100 first-year students forced to live in over-occupied dorms

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One hundred and twenty-three students are living in over-occupied rooms at Lehigh this semester, according to Residential Services. The majority are housed in Dravo House and Richards House, both of which are first-year student residence halls.

“Students who are still in an over-occupied room on the tenth day of class will be given a 10 percent discount,” said Katy Kresge, Associate Director of Residential Services.

“Many of the rooms used are traditional single rooms that are just under the square footage of what we designate for a double room, and all rooms used are well within fire code occupancy standards,” Kresge said in an email.

“There was a much greater number of students who accepted Lehigh’s offer of admission this year, which forced Residential Services to place a larger number of students in over-occupied housing accommodations,” she said.

According to “Lehigh at a Glance,” the Class of 2017 had 12,589 applicants, with 3,843 applicants accepted. 1,198 matriculants registered. This is a 30.5 percent acceptance rate and a 31.2 percent rate of accepted students who chose to attend Lehigh.

This stands in contrast to the class summary for the Class of 2018, which shows that this year’s first-year class had 11,513 applicants, with 3,945 accepted. 1,322 matriculants registered. This is a 34.3 percent acceptance rate and a 33.5 percent of accepted students who chose to attend Lehigh.

Lehigh therefore saw an increase over the past year both in its acceptance rate and in the number of students who ultimately chose Lehigh, leading to a larger class of 2018.

Richards is usually used as the over-occupancy space on campus because it has the largest rooms for first-year students, said Michael Mullin, the assisant director of residence life for Dravo and Richards.

“Richards is usually the obvious choice, and we had a few overage rooms in Richards last year,” Mullin said. “So I wasn’t too worried; I was excited for more residents.

“Rooms that were used as doubles are now singles, and ones used as triples are now doubles,” he said.

So far, however, “it’s been going really well,” Mullin said. “I think the funny thing that I find every year is students who are in overage rooms, a lot of them end up really liking their roommate.”

According to Kresge, “Residential Services has been able to offer several students in over-occupied situations the opportunity to move, but many of them have decided to stay in their rooms with their current roommates.”

“We worked extra hard with our students to make sure that, when they got there, they had a room formation that they liked,” Mullin said.

The students in over-occupied rooms were given the opportunity to select the number of pieces of furniture they wanted in the room.

“We actually had a lot of people on move-in day who said, ‘This is going to work out fine,’” Mullin said.

The students housed in over-occupied rooms were the last students to submit their deposits to Lehigh. Roman Brown, ’18, is living in a forced double in Dravo House. He said he was notified of his updated living situation via email a few weeks after his room assignment.

“I wasn’t sure why I had it,” Brown said. “But then they told me it was because I had a really late deposit. I wasn’t that worried at all. I don’t stay there as often because it’s so small. I’ll just go to my friends’ dorms and whatnot. But it’s been pretty good.”

Cory Spranger, ’17, a Gryphon for the Creative Commons Live Lehigh community in Dravo, has a forced triple on his hall.

“Basically, when I got my roster, I just had to see – ‘okay, there are three people in this room; is this meant to be a triple, or was this forced?’” he said.

Spranger went through the rooms and checked the closet space and furniture arrangement to determine the intended number of residents. He noted that the rooms aren’t short in terms of square footage. Instead, wall space is limited.

“The windows are covered by a desk or something like that,” he said. “When it comes to physically living, I’ve had no roommate conflicts.”

He said that the issue was addressed during Gryphon training and that he has been able to appropriately answer questions from residents.

“They definitely went out of their way to make sure these kids were treated appropriately given their unfortunate situation,” he said.

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