By: James Grottola and Michelle Karim
Almost 700 Stony Brook University students have been placed in overcrowded dorms this fall as the university deals with an unprecedented demand in on-campus housing.
With a housing shortage reaching maximum levels, 85 percent all of Stony Brook’s incoming freshmen are nearly guaranteed to have three people living in designated double rooms, according to Kathryn Osenni, an office assistant at the Campus Residences office. The standard accommodation offered by the school is two people per room. These changes have taken place sometimes, without the resident’s knowledge.
Campus residences have confirmed that they have received complaints from freshmen who have been tripled. “Our first priority is detripting after the semester starts,” Osenni said. “But this is done on a space-available basis.”
“I signed up for a double room but with an unofficial understanding that I would be tripled,” first semester freshman Hayley Rein said. Rein is currently living in Benedict College on campus. “I just accepted it because I knew it would happen to nearly everyone else and it didn’t seem like a terrible situation to be placed in anyway,” she added.
The triple room didn’t come as a surprise to Rachel Chabin either. Chabin, a freshman who lives in Greeley College said that the triple room “didn’t come as a surprise.” “The school didn’t say that everyone would be tripled. But then-current students told us that virtually all of us would be tripled,” she said. “The school said they would try to have us de-tripled by the end of the semester, but the kids said we’d most likely have to wait until the end of the year.”
When asked to comment on the issue, Alan S. deVries, associate director of residential programs for administration and services at Stony Brook said, “The issue of space in housing in relation to interested students is real. We opened the current year with 175 students in a facility we are renting from another local College and a waiting list of almost 400 students.”
In addition to overcrowding on campus, Stony Brook has to keep some students in dorms located on the Dowling College campus, with buses that shuttle the students back and forth from their dorms. Likewise, there are still hundreds of students who can’t get university regulated housing and are forced to resort to commuting from an off campus space.
A Residential Assistant from Mendelsohn Quad, who asked to be unnamed out of fear of losing his job, confirmed the extent of these problems. He stated that campus housing was at 103 percent capacity, which would even lead to RA’s having to live with some of their residents in a double, which “creates a conflict of interest.” “We have 40 to 50 people fitting in a hallway meant for 30 and then 40 to 50 people sharing four showers, one of which is always broken,” he said on the overcrowding issue. “A lot of the roommate problems I have to deal with stem from the fact that there just isn’t enough room.”
The problems of overcrowding breach outside of the college community as well. Gianni Gambuzza is a recent high school graduate who delivers for Wings Over in Farmingdale and has gripes with the growing community around Farmingdale College. He said that the campus was “overcrowded with people always getting in the way.”
Due to these issues, many students have resorted to off-campus housing. Naji Nizam is a sophomore who currently attends Suffolk Community College, but also has a real estate license and sells properties under Keller Williams Realty Homes & Estates. In his sales, the main reason he is able to rent off campus apartments to Stony Brook students is because they’re just too uncomfortable on-campus.
“People tell me they’re paying too much money and they’re cramped and they’re sharing a bathroom with the whole floor,” he said. He also said that he calculated the average cost of housing for a Stony Brook student and said that in many cases, it’s cheaper to live off campus if a student were to be placed in an undesignated triple.