The number of upperclassmen who are still in need of housing for the 2019-20 academic year has yet to be determined, according to Housing Services.
Ozzie Breiner, the director of Housing Services, said in an email that the university will offer a variety of living accommodations for juniors and seniors, including Farrington Square, Trembley Park, Sayre Park Village and in houses such as Warren Square.
He said SouthSide Commons will provide an additional 428 housing spots for Lehigh students beginning in the fall of 2019.
Zach Vinik, ’20, the president of Student Senate, said the lottery system will remain the same as it has in years past, where juniors and seniors were never promised housing.
Many students were worried about their housing situations when the university originally announced plans to tear down Trembley Park apartments.
Jaslyn Almonte, ’21, said she had planned to live in Farrington Square as an upperclassman and never desired to live off campus.
“(The email) made me feel as if my university, which I loved so much, doesn’t care about the well-being of its students,” Almonte said. “It feels as if Lehigh cares more about gaining new students than caring properly for those who are already a part of the community.”
Arleene Castillo, ’20, was among students who rushed to find off-campus housing after the initial housing email.
“I did not want to take the risk of not having housing my senior year even though there were limited spots available for rising juniors and seniors,” Castillo said.
Both Almonte and Castillo will live off-campus for the 2019-2020 academic year.
Vinik said Senate initially drafted a bill addressing immediate student concerns regarding housing.
Even after Lehigh sent a follow-up email that Trembley Park would not be torn down, students held a protest to express dissatisfaction.
Students from all class years supported their upperclassmen friends who would be affected by the unavailability of housing.
Joseph Swenson, ’22, said he went to meetings to discuss the issue and attended the protest to listen to his friends speak about how they were affected.
Hank Portney, ’21, a Senate co-chair of facilities and services, said he and two other Senate members created a second bill with a list of other concerns and a presentation of ideas for ways Senate could amend the situation.
Portney was proud of the students who responded to Senate’s survey about housing.
“Those individuals’ feedback brought to light many longstanding issues with Lehigh’s housing processes, allowing us to propose specific solutions to address those concerns and call upon the administration to act,” Portney said. “To the student body: your voice matters.”
Discussions about housing by Senate and administration are ongoing, Vinik said, and he encourages students to approach members of Lehigh’s administration with any concerns.
Trembley Park will remain available as a housing option for upperclassmen during the 2019-2020 school year, however, Trembley will not be available starting the summer of 2020.