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October 23, 1986 - Image 40

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1986-10-23
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C O L L E G E L l FE

Life in the Pit': Texas students awaiting space tough it out in Kinsolving basement
Finding Beds for Brains
With housing demand outstripping supply, some
schools are seeking creative solutions

A t the University of Texas in Austin
last month, rows of beds, desks and
portable closets made the Kinsolving
Dormitory basement look like an army bar-
racks. Appropriately dubbed "the Pit" by
its residents, the noisy basement served as
a temporary home for 20 undergraduate
women who were not lucky enough to land
one of the 5,188 on-campus living spaces
sought by 8,557 students. When she first
saw her new home, recalls freshman Janet
Lafnear, "I looked around, I looked at [my
father] and I started crying." Nearby, six
men shared three rickety bunk beds, five
desks and three closets in a basement room
at Roberts Hall. Most of these students
were later moved to permanent
housing-but 536 others were Built-in wii
told they would have to find a
place to live on their own.
UT's students were not the -
only ones to get squeezed out
of dorm rooms this fall. From
Emory in Atlanta to UCLA,{
many college officials have been
forced to devise innovative
schemes to accommodatea stu-
dent overflow. Study lounges J
have been converted to living '
spaces, double rooms have been
turned into triples and many
students have been forced toa
seek off-campus alternatives.

"The problem ofhousing students is getting
worse," declares housing director Marcus
Buckley of Boston University, which spent
more than $500,000 this fall to house 650
freshmen and transfer students at two
nearby hotels.
Why wasn't there a bed for every brain?
Rising freshmen enrollments and an ad-
ministrative tendency to overestimate the
number of no-shows are partly to blame,
say college officials. Housing demand is
difficult to project; the current crunch
could easily become a surplus should a pre-
dicted decline in enrollment occur just as
new dorms open. Skyrocketing off-campus
rents can also scramble the numbers.

Daunted by Boston's expensive rental mar-
ket, more BU upperclassmen are choosing
dorms; 54 percent opted to stay on campus
this year compared to 48 percent three
years ago.o
Many colleges are coping creatively with
the crush. At Emory, for example, when
1,250 freshmen arrived instead of the 950
expected, the school offered upperclass-
men who were willing to move out of
their dorm rooms an enticing option:
$1,000 cash or a luxury apartment. For
$871 a semester-the same price as the
cheapest dorm room-students live in one-
and two-bedroom, fully furnished apart-
ments, complete with dishwashers, air con-
ditioning, fireplaces and built-in wine
racks. A special shuttle bus ferries them to
and from the Summit Pointe complex. Thee.
arrangement is said to have cost the uni-
versity more than $500,000.
'No big deal': Students, for the most part,
manage to take the overbooked dorms in
stride. "It's worse than living with one
roommate, but it's no big deal," says Texas
freshman Jay Finley of his crowded quar-
ters. Others revel in their new housing
arrangements. "I don't know if I can
match this when I graduate," says Emory
junior Marc Cushman, a Summit Pointe
resident. BU freshman Kurt Whitaker
rather enjoyed his sojourn in the local
Sheraton: "Once my roommate got really
hammered and threw up in the sink," he
reports, "but the maid cleaned it up. It
was great."
Some excluded students, however, are
upset. "I've gone through college without
feeling that collegiate," says junior Chuck
Zigman, a UCLA history major who twice
competed with 8,400 other students for
4,200 dorm rooms and lost; he now com-
mutes to school each day from his par-
ents' home.
While the squeeze is tight at many
schools, the dorm population at others is
dropping. At Indiana University in Bloom-
ington, which has a housing boom, 292
fewer students live on campus this year
than last. Cost-conscious IU officials turned
some empty dorm rooms into offices and
converted some double rooms to
ry dorm more expensivesingles. Fearful
LLY HOWARD of such reversals, schools cur-
rently feeling the pinch are re-
luctant to build expensive new
dorms. Fifteen years ago at
UCLA, for example, several of
the now hotly demanded dorm
rooms stood empty. Observes
Mike Foraker, the school's
on-campus housing director:
"When you have that kind of
shortfall, it's very risky to add
more facilities."
Boston, HUH BROOKSiosAngeles
and T A N Y A I s c H in Bloorington

Form (FFSF) pulls together all
the information now required
on federal, state and college fi-
nancial-aid applications. The
new form can be used even by
applicants seeking guaran-
teed student loans. Serving as
an electronic broker, ACT will
forward the data to the appro-
priate aid agencies and to the
colleges, which then draw up
individual funding packages.
This "one-stop shopping" ap-
proach should save countless
hours of paperwork for
A small pilot program be-
gun last year showed that the
new forms cut red tape for ad-
ministrators as well. The Uni-
versity of Minnesota reported
that the FFSF slashed process-
ing time from 10 or 12 weeks
to as little as 2. An unforeseen
plus for students: the pilot
program uncovered more who
were eligible for Pell grants.
An A-Team at
Arizona State
n the never-ending quest
for grander GPA's, students
at Arizona State are plunk-
ing down $25 apiece to attend
"Where There's a Will
There's an 'A'," a three-hour
seminar by ASU business
Prof. Claude Olney. Olney be-
gan developing his 20-step
method in 1981 to help boost his
son's grades; he's parlayed his
advice into a copyrighted
course and recorded cassettes.
He's also raised Sun Devil ath-
letes' GPA's-and made him-
self a BMOC.
So what's his message? The
seminar doesn't give tech-
niques for bribing profs, nor
keys to fraternity exam files.
Olney simply stresses that
studying hard is not as impor-
tant as studying smart. Like
most self-help programs that
promise the world, Olney's de-
livers common sense in a fancy
package. Many of the tips
have been around since Socra-
tes: choose subjects in which
you're interested, sit in on pro-

spective classes. Others, like
using erasable ink on exams (no
crossed-out mistakes) are nov-
el. Olney defends his product
with a Mandrakean flourish:
"Until a clever trick is ex-
plained, everyone seems to be
mystified. But when the trick is
disclosed, everyone says they
could have done it."
Skin Game
As schools across the
country grapple with the
issues raised by the na-
tional debate over pornogra-
phy, they might look to the
University of Wisconsin as a
textbook example of what not
to do. Wisconsin's conflict
began in 1985 when a student-
union employee who believed
skin magazines were morally
wrong refused to sell the
four or five issues per month
requested. Administrators
pressured the balky clerk to
resign, thus generating a
tsunami of unfavorable
After a multitude of meet-
ings and proposals, a feminist
antiporn faction on the union
council forced the removal of
Playboy, Penthouse and Play-
girl from the shelves in May of
that year, sending state civil
libertarians to the barricades.
The chancellor subseauently

back to the drawing board.
Then last May the union
board decided to end-run
charges of discrimination by
pulling all monthly magazines
from the stands, including
such prurient rags as The At-
lantic. That action drew fire
from the ACLU and other na-
tional groups. In a bold waffle,
the chancellor rescinded his
initial approval of the boycott;
for now, the magazines are
back on the shelves.
Neither ban was very effec-
tive, since students could hop
over to the privately owned
bookstore a block away to buy
the proscribed documents.
But it was enough to teach stu-
dents and administrators a
very practical lesson in politi-
cal science. As university
spokesman Arthur Hove sighs,
"In an issue like this, pressure
is going to come from one cor-
ner or another."
High Time for
a Yearbook
Attention, Grinnell class
of 1966: your yearbooks
are ready. The slight
delay was due to the fact
that two decades ago adminis-
trators at the school in Grin-
nell, Iowa, banned the book
before publication, pleading li-
bel precautions. But feisty

staffers contrived to spirit
away the page proofs to a safe-
deposit box, where they pro-
ceeded to gather dust-along
with a reputation for portray-
ing wanton nudity, rampant
drug abuse and, of course, or-
gies. Recognizing the book's
sentimental and historical val-
ue, this year's administration
picked up the printing costs.
The product, while remark-
ably handsome, is also re-
markably tame. Oh, there are
oblique references to sex be-
tween students-a photo of a
male and female student walk-
ing away from campus carry-
ing an overnight bag-and a
shadowy depiction of a two-
t tn nfnaf Tl-ooaAo

ThepersOn po parcy.h1nereseven
ordered the magazines back on n k a zinger that describes foot-
the shelves and the union ball homecoming as "a peculiar
--Zcombination of hysteria and
violence." That doesn't begin to
So ┬░match the book's advance no-
toriety; Grinnell spokesman
Richard Ridgway says most
contemporary students ask,
"What was the big deal?"
Nevertheless, the 256-page
"Grinnell College-1966" is
selling briskly, even at $35
apiece. Although written for a
class of 220, it has sold 1,000
copies, with proceeds going to
the school's Martin Luther
King Jr. Scholarship Fund for
minority students-the same
use they were to have served
IMBLTEATOD back in 1966.

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