‘Gimme shelter’

Bursting at the seams might be a good way to describe housing now that the class of 2017 has made its way to Murray State.

An overflow in the residential colleges has resulted in rooms in both Lee Clark and James H. Richmond residential colleges housing three students to a room. Even residential advisers have had to take roommates. Another group of students who would otherwise be rooming in Hester Residential College are now residing in Old Richmond Residential College.

To the University’s credit, no student has, to our knowledge, been turned away because they weren’t able to find a place to room for the semester – but this does not excuse the fact that housing was an issue in the first place.

Students should not be confined three or four in a room designed for two.

We might have missed the “12 X 12” target, but we are nevertheless a growing school with a burgeoning population.

The ongoing renovations in Hester will alleviate some of that crowding, but renovations alone will not be sufficient to meet the needs of the class of 2018, the class of 2023, or the class of 2027.

If Murray State is to continue to grow and thrive, the Board of Regents, the President – all those with the ability to pave the way for that growth, for that expansion, have to make the necessary investments to do so.

It’s time to get serious about building new housing on campus in addition to renovating our existing housing.

Murray State owns plenty of property in the city and has plenty of money – as last year’s budget review, which cut millions of dollars in spending, made evident.

Expanding access to housing on campus might cost a bit up front, but the payoff on that investment could mean more diplomas and less dropouts.

Just ask David Wilson, director of housing at Murray State, who said as much in an interview with The News for this week’s edition, “Research has shown that staying on campus for one or two years has a positive impact on graduation.”

We have no illusions that this is the kind of policy that can be approved and enacted tomorrow – and we wouldn’t want this to be a rushed process.

Likewise, we wouldn’t want to see students asked to pay more for housing.

This is exactly the kind of thing that a “rainy day fund,” like the one maintained by the University, should be for – helping to make crucial investments in our school and in our community.

Any new housing constructed, renovated or expanded should be done with the aid of and the input of students.

Students should not be asked to sacrifice their hard-earned money or take out more in loans to help construct or expand housing in a process in which their voice is drowned out by University officials, the Student Government Association, faculty or staff.

This is our campus – we have a right to be housed here without having to be cramped three or four to a room.

 

Story by Devin Griggs. Opinion Editor