Second-largest freshmen class forces students to live in lounges

Emily Mills

Kent State’s freshman class is the second largest in Kent State University history at around 4,200 students. Because there aren’t enough beds on campus to accommodate all of these new students, some students are living in the lounges of residence halls until rooms open up.

There are currently 12 students living in lounges, but David Taylor, associate director of Residence Services, said they shouldn’t expect to be there much longer.

“It is my belief that they’ll be out (by the end of) this week,” he said.

These students are living in lounges in Dunbar, Prentice, Lake and Olson halls.

Taylor said before classes started, there were no students scheduled to stay in overflow housing. But students applying for on-campus housing on the weekend before the start of the semester spilled over into lounges.

Jill Church, director of Residence Services, said beds and rooms often open up in the first week of classes for a variety of reasons.

“We have all the students assigned, and they just don’t show up or choose a different university,” she said.

Church said one reason the number of students in overflow housing was small this year was because of the 109 beds added to the university since last summer.

Taylor said some double rooms have been converted into triple rooms in Centennial B, E and F.

Another reason there are more beds on campus this year is because of the enforcement of the policy requiring resident assistants, or RAs, to have roommates. Church said there are 144 RAs this semester, with 101 living in double rooms. Not all of these RAs have roommates, she said, but many do.

The university closed admissions in late May, and Residence Services soon followed suit, closing its housing applications and creating a waitlist for students who wanted to live on campus.

There are 6,334 total beds open to students on campus, plus an additional 144 beds for the RAs.

One project that took away dorm rooms was the sky-lounges added to Wright and Koonce halls.

Taylor said each lounge took 13 beds from each hall, for a total of 26 beds lost. 

However, Church said when they weighed their options, having more meeting spaces for students won out over having beds for them.

“These buildings, there’s not a lot of great open gathering spaces for students,” she said. “(We thought) it’s going to take beds offline, but it’s going to give students community space.”

University spokesman Eric Mansfield said although the 15-day numbers, statistics which explain who’s on Kent State’s campus, won’t be released yet, this year’s freshman class is expected to be the second-largest in university history with approximately 4,200 students. Last year’s class was the largest at around 4,300 students. 

“It still surpasses the goal we had for the freshman class,” he said.

Taylor said although the situation is inconvenient for the students living in the lounges, overall he is pleased with what it means for the university.

“It’s a good problem to have,” he said. “We don’t want it to be long-term, but it’s a sign of a healthy university and a healthy housing program.”

Contact Emily Mills at [email protected].