By: Alex Best, Staff Writer
File photo by Brendan Felch
Towson University’s Department of Housing and Residence Life has scrapped upcoming revisions to on-campus housing eligibility requirements.
The revisions would have made it so that only students with 74 credits or fewer at the end of the fall 2019 semester would be eligible for on-campus housing.
Currently, full-time students must have 90 credits or fewer to be eligible for on-campus housing.
The plan was originally proposed to student leaders by Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs Kelly Hoover during a Nov. 19 Student Government Association meeting as a part of a presentation on upcoming changes within the Department of Housing and Residence Life.
During the meeting, it was stated that the proposal for revisions were related to an upcoming phased renovation project to the Glen Housing Complex. The renovation would involve the closing of each of the four Towers in phases, beginning with Tower C being offline from approximately June 2020 until July 2021.
“The project has been in the queue to be completed for several years,” said Hoover. “Once finished, the exterior of the buildings will have a similar look to Residence Tower, and provide a greener climate footprint because of improved insulation, new air control units in individual rooms, and the instillation of new windows.”
A document that was distributed to members of the SGA by the Department of Housing and Residence Life during the meeting also included a proposed increase in room rates of 2.5% for the 2020-2021 academic year. The SGA later released the document to the public on social media.
“The proposed increase in room rates is to cover the departmental costs to pay back our loans and bond debt from the construction of Carroll and Marshall Hall, as well as the renovations of Residence Tower,” Hoover said.
During and following the meeting, students voiced concerns about the change to the eligibility requirements, particularly that it would put certain groups like seniors and transfer students at a disadvantage. Other students took to social media to voice their frustrations.
According to the reversed revision, credit exception requests could have been submitted to the Department of Housing and Residence Life for consideration.
However, many students expressed that they were upset that the department had not told them about the changes sooner.
“I was shocked that this was something that the University was planning to enact and initially keep hidden from students,” said TU sophomore Taryn Painter. “I thought the SGA was right to publicly release the information that was presented to them at [the meeting], and to let the student body know about policy changes that would affect us directly.”
According to a Nov. 22 press release by the SGA, the 74 credit limit had been rolled back to the current 90 credit limit after SGA President Naimah Kargbo voiced concerns in a Nov. 20 meeting with senior University leadership, which Hoover later confirmed.
“The press release is a hopeful sign that the University is listening and aware of our concerns as students, but I’m also worried that the proposals will still be pushed through despite SGA’s efforts,” Painter said.
Kargbo says she plans on having regular meetings with Housing and Residence Life to encourage an open line of communication between the department and students.
According to Hoover, the original presentation was an attempt by the Department to be more transparent with students.
“Typically the proposed rate increases would not have been shared until the spring semester,” Hoover said. “We felt it was important to share this information sooner, which is why we went to SGA.”