As the construction of the Miller Creative Quad continues, discussion about the housing process, residence traditions, and hall community has become imperative.
In the past, students have had the opportunity to “squat” a room that they would like to continue living in the following year. However, Veasey and Martin will be closed next year for renovations. When they open again, Galloway and Hardin will close. The next year, both will open, and Raney will undergo renovations. Because students living in residence halls won’t be able to squat rooms slated for renovation, Dean Wiltgen has suggested to senate that squatting end within the residence halls until all renovations finish in 2021. Doing so eliminates the disadvantage students living in Veasey and Martin will have during housing selection.
The Veasey and Martin closures remove 238 beds, while the Creative Quad will open 100 for a mix of upperclassmen and first-year students. The original proposal suggested that seventy spots be reserved for returning students, while thirty will be given to first-year students. Dean Wiltgen aspired to take whatever recommendation the Senate passed, so constituents received several emails with links to polls about the Creative Quad policy. A majority of the responses said that the Creative Quad should only house upper-class students. However, with the Veasey and Martin closures, space for incoming students will be far more limited than in previous years. Without reserving some beds for new students with the Creative Quad, the proportion of first-year to upper-class students will change within the traditional residence halls. More freshmen would need to be placed in rooms currently used as singles will be used as doubles, and there will be fewer empty rooms in each hall.
Some students voiced concerns about the 30-bed limit for first-year students. Many were worried that the new students living among upper-class students would feel isolated and struggle to form community. Ultimately, senate recommended that a maximum of 40 beds be reserved specifically for first-year students, with the understanding that there should be as few freshmen as possible within the Creative Quad.
The Creative Quad will be co-ed by room; genders will not be separated into wings. However, housing aims to cluster first-year students near each other.
Students suggested that art students be given preference to the Creative Quad, since many of the resources there will be centered around artistic expression. However, Dean Wiltgen hopes that the relationship between the Quad and art students will occur organically.