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800 upperclassmen denied housing, freshmen to be relocated to Santa Fe Square and McConnell Hall

800 upperclassmen denied housing, freshmen to be relocated to Santa Fe Square and McConnell Hall

800 upperclassmen denied housing, freshmen to be relocated to Santa Fe Square and McConnell Hall
August 12
13:00 2022

Santa Fe Square and McConnell Hall will house freshmen students during the 2022-23 academic year.

Santa Fe previously housed upperclassmen and McConnell Hall previously housed only Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science students. The change was made to accommodate the large number of incoming freshmen who must live on campus per university policy, according to UNT Housing Director James Fairchild.

Fairchild said Santa Fe Square was chosen because of its double occupancy rooms.

“From a student development perspective and an experiential perspective, the opportunity for first-year students to have a roommate is kind of part of the college experience,” Fairchild said. “Santa Fe being a double occupancy building – it kind of lends itself to being transitioned over for freshman use.”

While around 1,000 upperclassmen will be living on campus during the fall 2022 semester, approximately 800 who applied for housing were not assigned a room, Fairchild said. This is an increase from the 100 upperclassmen who were not assigned a room in fall 2021. Fairchild said the increase is “fairly unprecedented.”

“We’ve had to turn a small number of upperclassmen away in the last couple of years,” Fairchild said. “The number this year is really a new kind of benchmark to set.”

Fairchild said he anticipates the university will build a new residence hall in the future to create space for more students to live on campus. He said planning is “in that very preliminary stage,” so decisions on details such as the location of the new residence hall and what types of students it would house have not been made.

“[…] It’s been acknowledged that we have a demand, and we need to be better prepared to meet that demand […] in the next couple of years,” Fairchild said.

McConnell Hall will house female freshmen in addition to TAMS students. This is a change from recent years when the dorm was occupied only by students enrolled in TAMS, an early college program that allows high school juniors and seniors to attend the university as full-time students.

In an email to the TAMS class of 2023, Russ Stukel, TAMS assistant dean for student life, cited a smaller TAMS enrollment and large freshman class as reasons for this change.

“There were not sufficient qualified applications for the class of 2024 to fill the vacancies of the graduates of the class [of] 2022,” Stukel said. “Simultaneously, UNT continues to admit a freshman class [required to live on campus] that exceeds the traditional residence hall space available.”

Emmanuel Roy, a member of TAMS class of 2023, said that TAMS students must follow unique rules that do not apply to other UNT students. One such rule is a curfew that prohibits TAMS students from leaving McConnell Hall. Doors are locked to enforce this curfew but would have to remain unlocked for non-TAMS students to be allowed to come and go.

Roy acknowledged that the university is in a difficult position, but that this solution has flaws.

“I have the utmost respect for UNT administration, TAMS administration and I also really understand that the UNT housing department is under a lot of duress […] this is a bad situation for everybody, we understand, but please try and find a better solution,” Roy said.

Stukel said TAMS rules will not change in his email to the TAMS seniors.

“TAMS security, safety protocols, and policies will still be in place,” Stukel said. ” This is not ideal, however, we are optimistic this can be a workable solution.”

Featured Image: The sign for Santa Fe Square residence hall stands on campus on August 2, 2022. Photo by Maria Crane

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McKinnon Rice

McKinnon Rice

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