Whenever I get mail from the Office of University Housing, it’s never good news. In fact, no mail from Temple is never good news. It’s either a bill for something or a bill for something else. After skimming through the typical first paragraph nonsense, my eye was caught on the following sentence:
“Beginning with the fall 2004 semester, Temple will not provide housing to current sophomores, juniors and seniors.”
Temple’s greediness has surpassed their respect and concern for their students. Apparently, the school would rather profit from keeping more freshmen on campus, with the assumption that upperclassmen have already settled into college life and that most already live on their own.
This new policy isn’t a drastic measure. The only two upperclassmen dorms are Temple Towers and 1300, and there are a few upperclassmen in 1940. In 2002, White Hall made the degrading transition from a luxurious upperclassmen dorm to another place to be trampled over by freshmen.
Only three years ago, many upperclassmen anticipated the opening of 1300, with brand new apartments and suites. Now these, too, are becoming just another commodity for freshmen.
Current freshmen in Johnson and Hardwick, suffering from rodent infestations and lack of air-conditioning, were expecting to move into a nicer dorm this fall. Now they can expect life in a dismal, off-campus apartment and a crowded subway ride where the only heat is body heat.
Main campus has always been problematic for student housing. But if greed is Temple’s priority, why didn’t they consider the concept of building taller dorms to hold more students who will in turn contribute more money toward the school? White Hall, 1940 and 1300 are only four stories high. Peabody is a mere three stories.
Increasing the height of the dorms would add more students on campus, which benefits students, and thousands of dollars more in housing payments, which benefits the school.
The letter continued, “With more than five times as many students living on campus than only a few years ago, we are taking many steps to increase the amount of housing available on main campus.”
I’m sure this will mean Temple will shove more students in the same dorm room. During my freshman year, an end room in Johnson and Hardwick only held two students. The year after, three students were squeezed into the small prison-like space. I wouldn’t be surprised if four are in there next year, with two students to a closet.
In the fall of 2004, Temple enrolled 5,586 freshmen, 4,932 sophomores, 5,196 juniors and 4,428 seniors, excluding Temple Japan. According to the letter, this freshman class is the “largest and best qualified freshman class in its history.” How many students in this “best qualified” class will actually graduate from Temple? How many will actually graduate from any college at all?
Temple’s turnover rate is something they never want to acknowledge. The school should cater to the upperclassmen that continue to pay tuition year after year and ultimately graduate with a valuable Temple education.
We are Temple’s future and our success is reflected in our college experiences. College is supposed to be one of the best times of your life. Students who can’t afford apartments, who are independents paying tuition on their own or are unfamiliar with the city are now finding it to be just the opposite.
Stephanie Young can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.