Morgan State University’s administration is looking ahead for housing improvements following the overflow of waitlisted students this fall semester.
This semester, Morgan State experienced an increase in incoming freshman and transfer students with a 37 percent increase in female student enrollment. To combat the overflow, some students were temporarily housed in the hotel rooms in the Earl G. Graves School of Business and Management for three weeks and others were sent to a hotel four miles away from campus.
It is an understatement to say the housing incident was bizarre, but it is something that the Vice President of Student Affairs, Kevin Banks said he expects a “housing crunch” for the next two to three years at Morgan State.
So how does Morgan State improve? How can they deal with another overflow of incoming students? The administration has developed some ideas to make housing issues easier to resolve or not occur at all.
“We’ve been actually looking at a way that the waitlist can be online, you can access it, you can know where your spot is on the waitlist,” said Banks. “We want to be able to communicate earlier to our students, say ‘listen you just applied for housing July or June 1st, please know your application is waitlisted and we can’t guarantee housing these are some things you might want to consider.’”
The administration is also exploring the possibility of renovating Thurgood Marshall Apartment Complex into high rises and talking to other off-campus apartment complexes to enter an arrangement like the one with Marble Hall Gardens.
“We have expanded our space over in Marble Hall Gardens,” said Douglas Gwynn, director of the office of residence life and housing. “There’s a new company there, they have done some good things, they’ve renovated apartments.”
There are also some short-term problems to be fixed at Marble Hall Gardens.
“The short-term plan is that we’re now going to sit down with Marble Hall Gardens, it is upon new leadership, and we are going to see if we can negotiate a short-term fix to this,” said Morgan president David Wilson at his townhall. “And it has to different than what it is now, so it has to be a different kind of security system, it has to be some major renovations taken place over there and that’s what we’re going to say to them.”
Other solutions aren’t so positive for the students’ academic life.
“Some of our buildings have computer lounges in them and if we take those offline, we can create more beds but then we’re taking away some tools that students could be using to their advantage to help them be successful in the classroom,” said Banks. “So we have to have a balance there.”
According to Banks, the administration is also exploring the possibility of making housing mandatory for freshman and sophomores and then have upperclassmen funneled into apartment styled living.
One of the biggest changes that administration is considering is possibly getting rid of “the drop period.”
“Dr. Wilson has a strong feeling about this whole drop process,” said Banks. “Do we need to do the drop? We’re going to be having a conversation about the whole drop piece, whether we should continue doing that. Because it’s very, very disruptive.”