I’m almost positive no student in the history of this school has ever said without sarcasm, “I love Emory housing!” but on the other hand, I’m pretty sure mostly everyone has said “F--- Emory housing” at some point or another. And with good reason too.
It’s really not just Emory. I think University housing is a ridiculous idea in general. Sure, it’s a great experience — I loved being able to just walk down the hallway and mosey into a friend’s room to watch “Cops” at 2 a.m. on particularly insomnia-ridden nights. Convenience is another perk. It was awesome being able to wake up 10 minutes before class, walk and still make it on time. But requiring students to live on campus for the first two years just doesn’t seem right.
Most universities have similar policies to Emory, based on the idea that it’s an important life experience, but when else in your life are you going to be forced to share a 15-foot by 12-foot living space for an extended period of time with, in many cases, a complete stranger? If you plan on committing an armed bank robbery — that’s when.
As if that doesn’t make matters uncomfortable enough, the college residence-hall environment exhibits little to no respect for privacy. I understand that it’s Emory’s job to do all it can to ensure students are being safe and lawful, but I still really resented the thought that my Resident Adviser (RA) — a student merely two years older than myself — had the right to perform random room checks. I hated the idea of my mom digging around my room as a teenager, and I hated more the idea of an RA intruding into my room basically as he saw fit, as a college student himself. The days are long gone when colleges thought it was their job to act in loco parentis.
Then there’s the issue of cost. Other than having kids (no thanks), going to college is one of the single largest expenses in most people’s lives, and housing is no different. Housing costs can run to up to $7,000 for two semesters, depending on where you live (and whether you want to park your car in a lot or leave it to accumulate parking tickets in the Dobbs University Center loading dock), which comes down to about $900 a month. I could rent a one-room apartment in Virginia Highlands or an equally upscale shopping district for less than that, and it would probably be a lot nicer, too.
Not to mention that it’s the height of unfairness that Emory spends so lavishly on the building of new freshman residence halls before renovating or fixing dire problems in older dorms. I lived in Trimble last year, with a sink that barely worked, little to no heating during the winter and the constant threat of rodents — how cheated must a freshman living in Trimble feel this year, now that even more of the freshman class lives in the new fancy residence halls right across the street? If this situation is to persist, then Emory should at least charge for housing on a sliding scale.
Finally, the University really needs to consider revisiting its registration system. A friend of mine recently checked the housing website to find out what her sign-up time was. It was 5:40 a.m. Does that hour even exist?
It would be wise of the University to consider remodeling housing sign-up after course registration procedures — the current system demands some kind of organization. It makes sense for course registration times to be organized according to seniority, and it would also make sense if housing sign-up times were made less random — students with fewer violations register first, for example. This might even give students the incentive to behave that, say, creepy random room checks do not.
Editorials Editor Catherine Cai is a College sophomore from Atlanta.