About 440 students check into Lord Baltimore, university expects continued housing shortage

As waitlisted students check into the Lord Baltimore hotel, the university continues to grapple with its rapid growth and housing shortage.


Trae Mitchell

“Ideally, you would like to have [informed students] probably a little bit earlier,” said Kevin Banks, vice president of student affairs. “We could have been in a better position to inform students that we had this possible resource.”

Trae Mitchell, Managing Editor

Kevin Banks has felt more like a hotel manager than a vice president of student affairs since Morgan State University housed nearly 500 students at the Lord Baltimore hotel.

Banks has spent the last two weeks attending to students and concerned parents at the Downtown Baltimore hotel. 

His office has been flooded with complaints about the eleventh-hour announcement sent by the university to waitlisted students a week before classes started.

“Ideally, you would like to have [informed students] probably a little bit earlier,” he said. “We could have been in a better position to inform students that we had this possible resource.”

The shift came after the university offered nearly 3,400 students on and off-campus university housing options.

Since then, around 440 studentsout of the 700 waitlisted studentshave moved into the Lord Baltimore hotel, many of whom are freshman and out-of-state students. 

The students are in about 275 double-occupancy rooms clustered throughout the hotel.

Banks said Lord Baltimore also agreed to fund the redecoration of a lounge so that the students can have a taste of Morgan culture even though they are more than 15 minutes away from campus

Students are paying a similar price to the rent for Morgan View Apartments, a substantial discount to what it would cost to check out a similar room in the hotel through Lord Baltimore.

Students might also give receive a 20 percent discount on items purchased at the hotel, according to Banks.

Banks said that the university is using its funds to subsidize the expense for students and pay for three additional 28 passenger vans and van drivers, six residential assistants, one residential director, one assistant residential director and Morgan security officers. 

These were unexpected expenses for the university, said Banks.

However, Kara Turner, vice president of enrollment management, said that the precursor to Morgan’s housing issues was expected by her office and Morgan officials.

The Office of Enrollment Management and Student Success knew by the end of summer that enrollment would be 9,513- with 7,999 undergraduate and 1,514 graduates enrolled- the start of the fall semester compared to an 8,469 official enrollment last October. 

Banks added that the almost 55 percent of the freshman class are out-of-state students, causing an unprecedented strain on available housing.

However, Turner said resource shortage issues like Morgan’s housing crisis are common in rapidly growing institutions.

“But [the increase in enrollment] does leadas it does at the other schools that are seeing an increase tooa situation where there is not enough housing to meet the demand,” she said, adding that the current enrollment will likely decrease by October.

Banks said that the university is assessing “no-shows” and will begin reasoning primarily first- and second-year students, out-of-state students and students with medical conditions to housing options closer to campus.

He added that Morgan is currently in a semester-long lease with Lord Baltimore but will likely continue to house students at the hotel throughout spring.

“It just means we have to continue to enhance and improve and expand infrastructure to be able to service students and expectations,” Banks said.