Squatting numbers triple

The number of students choosing to keep their housing assignments for another year more than tripled compared to last year.

Seth Weinshel, director of University Campus Housing, said there are 331 students in 97 rooms who took advantage of the policy, dubbed squatters’ rights, which allows rising seniors and students living on the Mount Vernon Campus to stay in their rooms for another year. The Aston, 2109 F St., Scholars’ Village Townhouses and single-occupancy rooms on the Foggy Bottom campus are excluded from the policy.

Weinshel said 88 students in 30 rooms chose to keep their housing assignments last year. He attributed the increase to changes in the squatters’ rights policy, which is intended to make on-campus housing more attractive to upperclassmen.

Students received their housing lottery numbers before the squatters’ rights process this year to help them determine which option would secure a better room. Students had until Feb. 8 to decide whether to participate in squatters’ rights.

Junior Rob Durcik, a New Hall resident, planned to squat until he received his lottery number.

“I definitely would have squatted if I didn’t get a good number in the lottery,” he said. Durcik said he is trying to move into Ivory Tower or to a different floor in New Hall.

Last year, squatters’ rights excluded students living in single-occupancy rooms or New Hall, but included all rising juniors and seniors. The Community Living and Learning Center received recommendations from the student-run Residence Hall Association before making changes to this year’s policy.

“I do believe the changes to the policy allowed for more students to use squatters’ rights. CLLC is very happy with the turnout of students that are using squatters’ rights,” Weinshel wrote in an e-mail.

Senior Michael Strong said he does not agree with the squatters’ rights policy because it is unfair to students who are trying to move into nicer residence halls.

“It is clear that New Hall is one of the more popular dorms for sophomores and Ivory Tower and 1957 E Street are more popular for juniors. This creates a problem since there is such a large demand and so little supply for these dorms,” Strong said.

Strong lives in 2109 F St., a housing facility excluded from squatters’ rights.

“Even if students could squat here, I would not choose to,” Strong said. “I live in a run-down dorm and the University needs to do a lot of renovations to this building, as well as other buildings on campus.”

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