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Senate discusses housing issues, emerging hall staff dilemmas

| Thursday, October 7, 2021

The Notre Dame student senate convened Wednesday evening to discuss the recent housing availability issues regarding Gateway and transfer students as well as emerging hall staff recruiting issues. 

Notre Dame’s Office of Residential Life recently informed students that housing will not be available to 2021-2022 students of the Holy Cross Gateway Program as well as transfer students in the 2022-2023 academic year. The controversy has sparked frustration in the Gateway community.

Heaven Carter | The Observer
The Notre Dame student senate discussed housing issues on campus, starting with reactions to Gateway students being denied housing and wrapping up with ideas for recruiting students to be RAs.

Keough Hall senator and junior Benjamin Erhardt enlightened the senate on what was discussed during the Campus Life Council. He said during the meeting it was explained that the new transfer housing policy is not new, it has always been a possibility that Gateway and transfer students would possibly not receive housing. Erhardt reiterated residential life’s statement that “due to high yield rates and the large first-year class, they [the University] can not guarantee housing to all the students.” 

Multiple other student body members expressed their disappointment regarding the housing announcement. Club coordination council president and senior Maddie Tupy, a former Gateway student, expressed how upset the Gateway Program is with this issue. Not only are the students upset, she said, but many of them said their decisions to enroll in the Gateway program would have been different if they knew housing would not be open to them. 

Tupy stressed that residential life is a big part of the Notre Dame culture, and this policy fails to make transfer and Gateway students feel welcome and included. Several resolutions regarding this issue were brought to the table. Some solutions included allowing students to stay in Fischer Graduate residences, adding more students into rooms and finding more ways for students who live off-campus to stay involved in residential life. 

The discussion then shifted over to issues relating to hall staff in Notre Dame residence halls. Multiple members of the student body senate expressed how their halls have been struggling with finding students who want to become residential assistants — more commonly known as RAs — due to an alleged decrease in perceived perks.

“The appetite for wanting to be an RA has dropped,” Baumer Hall senator and sophomore Daniel Schermerhorn said. 

The senate discussed that the connotation surrounding RAs has become negative over the last year due to COVID- 19 guidelines and restrictions in the past year. Members from various halls explained how this has created an issue and echoed the difficulty they have had finding prospective RAs for future years. 

The senate body brainstormed ideas on how to solve this issue. One of the proposed solutions was to allow juniors to become RAs. Several members stated that other universities allow juniors to apply to become RAs and that it is a solution they would recommend the University to consider. 

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