The student body has been voicing their opinions this year about the condition of the upperclassman housing in hopes to see a change brought forth by Residence Life, Student Life and Mercyhurst University.
Students have called upon Residence Life and Student Life to make a change and take responsibility for the conditions that students are forced to live in.
According to the Mercyhurst University 2013-2014 Course Catalog, under the “Residence Life” section found on page 8, Mercyhurst has made it a policy that freshmen and sophomores are required to live on campus.
This being said, the catalog states that “each [Briggs/Lewis] apartment consist of two bedrooms, a living room, bathroom and a kitchen,” as well as “[these] apartments house four residents (limited triples may be available).”
Some may wonder if that is all Residence Life and Student Life worries to provide, the simple necessities, not necessarily the upkeep and functionality.
Mercyhurst Student Government held a housing forum in October to give students the opportunity to voice their concerns to the administration. The officials who attended were: Alice Agnew, Director of Residence Life; Laura Zirkle, Vice President of Student Life; Gary Brown, Chief Financial Officer; Sue Johnson; and Ken Stepherson, General Manager of Facility Services.
The forum, which was previously reported on in The Merciad, discussed the lack of enthusiasm the panel seemed to provide to those who attended. According to the article, some students felt that the responses may have defeated the forum entirely with Zirkle stating that she was not “personally willing to advocate immediately for the student body.”
The average apartment houses four people.
On page 28, under the Student Financial Services section of the catalog, Residence Life charges each person $3,075/term to live in a four-person apartment on Briggs and Lewis avenues.
This adds up to $6,150/person for the eight to nine month school year.
Residence Life and Mercyhurst are receiving on average $6,150 per person per year.
When multiplied by the average four-person apartment, this adds up to $24,600 per school year per apartment.
Simply talking about the Briggs and Lewis apartment buildings, Mercyhurst operates 42 of those buildings, each holding at minimum six apartments.
Some buildings also use the seventh apartment found in the basement to house students, but some may be vacant.
Looking at the minimum of six apartments that are not found with various issues from years past, there are a total of 252 apartments on Briggs and Lewis avenues that Mercyhurst is operating.
With each of those 252 apartments housing an average of four students, totaling roughly 1,008 students that are paying $6,150 for the year (again, according to the 2013-14 catalog), Mercyhurst could be receiving roughly $6,199,200 every year for housing alone.
Sophomore Park Bogan questions the impact the funds that are being paid is making. “When it adds up, students are paying a lot of money and it is questionable what that money is going towards,” said Bogan.
To clarify, certain circumstances shift this number below or above that mark such as students receiving scholarships, the apartments that are considered “triple” apartments, students that do or do not live on campus as juniors or seniors, the cost of the basic amenities that the school endures, or the Resident Assistants also known as RAs that receive free room and board.
This may be made up, however, using the 17 townhouses that house six people each, three townhouses housing five people each, or the six townhouses that house four people each. This number also does not include the Duval Apartments that house four sophomores each.
Considering the conditions and the “amenities” that students receive on campus, the cost of living that students are paying and are forced to live in, especially as sophomores, is confusing to most students.
Sophomore Mary Barnes finds herself hoping to move off campus after being at school for less than three-months.
“The on-campus housing quality is so poor that living on campus my junior and senior year is not even an option,” said Barnes. “I’m paying top dollar for an apartment that is barely standing.”