Our View: A possible fix for overcrowding

It’s become a yearly problem at Kent State: Ever-increasing enrollment has caused a lack of available on-campus housing for students.

To deal with this issue the past two years, the university has tripled up rooms, moved residents in with RAs and even converted lounges to regular rooms in some dorms.

Now, an organization independent of the university is stepping up to help.

The Kent Presbyterian Church has plans to pay for an off-campus housing complex along Summit Street. It will house about 375 students and will cost no more than $22 million, according to church officials.

Overall, we’re glad to see a project like this in the works. With the university failing to act about the growing problem of overcrowding — other than making triple rooms a permanent fixture in certain halls — it’s good to see someone step up to provide additional housing. After all, it’s not as if enrollment is about to drop in the next couple of years.

With overcrowding likely to continue, available housing is going to be limited, and this gives students an off-campus option.

Of course, there is a slight catch with the project. The housing is substance-free, meaning no alcohol or drugs. But for people who don’t drink or partake in illegal drugs, the church’s housing provides a decent option.

We just hope there aren’t additional catches to go along with the no drugs or alcohol policy.

Church officials say religion won’t be an issue when evaluating applicants for housing, and it shouldn’t be. The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination against religion in the sale or rental of housing. We just hope to see the church live up to that.

Ultimately, though, our biggest question is about money.

What we’re most concerned about is how much the church plans to charge students to live at the housing complex. While officials are in the process of securing loans and grants to help pay for the complex, $22 million is a lot of money. We don’t want to see that $22 million earned back by charging students an exorbitant amount of money to live in the apartments.

We’d like to believe a church wouldn’t do something like that, but these days everyone seems to worship a higher God — the almighty dollar.

If the church doesn’t charge an arm and a leg though, we think this is a great option for students who don’t mind giving up booze and drugs. We’re glad the church is coming through for students by providing much-needed housing.

If only the university would do the same …

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.