By: Koya Perez
The school year got off to an unexpected start for roughly 40 students when they were placed in temporary housing at the Super 8 Motel in Dover at the start of the school year due to an overabundance of new students at Delaware State University for the 2016-2017 school year.
All students were placed in on-campus housing by Sept. 7, said Director of News Services Carlos Holmes.
DSU admitted more than 1,000 freshmen to the university, surpassing the goal of 900.
Holmes noted that while the high enrollment number is seen as a success to DSU faculty, it did cause a predicament for housing students.
The surplus of new students filled the housing for freshmen, and spilled over to housing specified for upperclassmen: the University Village Apartments and the Living and Learning Commons.
Students who had paid housing deposits and received financial aid from FAFSA, were relocated to the motel more than a mile away from the university.
School security patrolled the motel overnight as Chief Harry Downes, the director of Public Safety wanted to make sure students were protected. Dover police were also stationed overnight for extra protection.
Outraged and confused, students took to twitter to express their concerns with their money and housing.
A peaceful protest was planned for Aug. 30 in the Administration Building but fell through due to a lack of participation. Student Emir Horton who planned the protest is concerned with the housing issue.
Phillip Holmes, the director of Housing and Residential Education said a lot of upperclassmen students were either purged or applied for housing too late, which resulted in an influx of students coming in.
This led to the need for more space, resulting in the university calling local hotels and motels.
Despite the circumstances, Phillip Holmes said students still expressed gratitude for having a place to stay.
Carlos Holmes said these students were able to return to campus once open space was made available in the freshmen dorms and the Living and Learning Commons.
“Housing is guaranteed for freshmen, not for upperclassmen. Many of the students who were at the motel were upperclassmen and filled in those open rooms in the freshmen residence halls,” he said.
Moreover, Carlos Holmes said this isn’t the first time the school has had to use a hotel for temporary housing.
The school has a history of enormous population growth. For example, the student population grew in 2003, leading to the construction of the University Village Apartments, which now holds 628 beds per building; there are three buildings in the complex.
Carlos Holmes noted that administration wants to emphasize to the student body to check their student email, as there are constant notifications regarding housing, campus updates, events, and messages from staff and faculty about the university. Students fail to check their emails properly, which can result in issues such as this.
Moving forward, the university is concentrating on building a better reputation with the community. “It is in the works to build more housing on campus,” Phillip Holmes said. “We just have to prove that there’s a need.”