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Students still living in forced triples despite 255 empty spaces on campus

Updated: Oct 3, 2022

This semester, Belmont has 255 empty spaces in on-campus housing — as well as 13 completely empty rooms — despite the fact that some students are still in forced triples.

These empty spaces are the result of a 6 to 8 percent decrease of students living in on-campus housing which happens between the fall and spring semesters, said Anthony Donovan, Director of Residence Life.

“We are down around 7 percent right now, which is very normal,” said Donovan.

This decrease of student living on campus each spring semester leaves behind empty spaces in apartments and dorm rooms waiting to be filled by other students.

For some students, these vacancies affect the dynamic in their apartments.

“There is a little less life,” said Abbi Kompst, a resident of Horrel Hall who has two empty rooms in her apartment of five. “Whether or not you talk to or see your roommates, you can hear them doing something, so there is less of that now.”

Kompsts is not the only one who feels this way.

“It definitely feels more empty,” said Catherine Perala, a resident of Horrell Hall with two empty rooms in her apartment.

“The reason we chose a five-person is because we wanted the five people in there to have that feeling, but now it is just the three of us so it feels a lot more empty.”

While some rooms might feel empty, some students are experiencing the opposite, as they still live in high-occupancy rooms, or forced triples.

A forced triple is a two-student room acting as a living space for three students.

“The hardest part of it is comparing your experience of living in a forced triple to other people who have a lot of room for couches and stuff. It’s kind of disheartening,” said Leah Kuhn, a freshman living in a forced triple in Patton.

While high-occupancy rooms may have been necessary when they were introduced, the cramped environment can be stressful, Kuhn said.

“There is so much piled-up stuff on our wardrobes that if someone walks into the room, they can’t see me. I can’t see the door from my lofted bed that has my desk and dresser underneath it.”

Forced triples started because of the lack of male housing space on campus, as well as a lack of space for incoming freshmen.

There are 15 different resident halls students can choose to live on campus. From the 15 different options, nine of the buildings are designated freshman halls. Out of those nine, two are male-only while there are four female-only dorms, along with three buildings that house both male and female students.

“We’ve been tight on male space all year, most of our empty space is female,” said Donovan.

Since housing arrangements are gendered and students have requested with who they want to live, there are many factors that are considered when a student requests to move rooms.

However, if those factors were eliminated, a majority of the forced triples could theoretically be eliminated based on the number of rooms empty, said Donovan.

“Without regard to where the person wanted to live, what building they wanted to live in and who they wanted to live with. We could probably un-triple every single female triple we have.”

Article by Madison Bowen.

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