Amidst increasing demands for housing accommodations, Pitzer struggles to house all students on campus

Pitzer College faces a housing dilemma. (Jojo Sanders • The Student Life)

Pitzer College is facing a housing shortage due to an increase in housing accommodation requests, resulting in upperclassmen being asked to move off campus, according to Kirsten Carrier, the associate dean of students and director of Residence Life.

The housing crisis is not a result of over-enrollment. There haven’t been any notable changes in Pitzer’s admission or yield rates in the past three years, Anna Chang, senior director for Communications and Media Relations, wrote in an email to TSL.

Many incoming freshmen applied for singles. But some of them were placed in upperclassmen dorm rooms due to a lack of space in the typical first-year residence dorms, which are Pitzer, Atherton, and Sanborn Halls.

Perry Sui PZ ’22 said he was told he would be placed in Mead Hall five days before move-in day due to the lack of available singles at PAS.

“They told me there was apparently only two singles at PAS. When everyone else got their room assignments, all I was told was that they had to rearrange things,” he said. “They didn’t even tell me if I’d be able to have a single, let alone that they were putting me in an upperclassmen dorm.”

West Hall is one of the upperclassmen dorms at Pitzer College. (Jojo Sanders • The Student Life)

The college’s current housing spaces consists of 23 percent singles and 77 percent doubles, Carrier wrote in an email to TSL.

In the past five years, Pitzer and other colleges nationwide have experienced an influx of students applying for and receiving disability accommodations,” Carrier wrote. “Over the course of 3 years, Pitzer has experienced an approximate 83 percent increase in requests for disability accommodations. Many of these accommodation requests relate to housing, specifically requests for single rooms.”

To remedy the lack of housing, upperclassmen were asked if they would move to Claremont Collegiate Apartments to accommodate new students, according to Valerie Schiro, assistant director of residence life and housing.

The email to students offered anyone who agreed to live off-campus $1,520 in housing credit, lowering the price from $9,720 to $8,200 per semester. These students were also allowed to opt out of a meal plan or choose the five-meal plan, while students on campus are required to be on a 12- or 16-meal plan, according to Schiro.

East Hall is another one of Pitzer College’s upperclassmen dorms. (Jojo Sanders • The Student Life)Pitzer joins a list of colleges — including Scripps College and Purdue University — that have struggled to house the entirety of their student body. Scripps enrolled more students in the class of 2021 than it could accommodate, resulting in 40 randomly selected first-years being assigned to live off-campus at the Claremont Graduate University Apartments last year.

Students at Scripps reported that attending social events and adjusting to normal campus life was more challenging living off-campus. Madisen Barre PZ ’22 had similar concerns about her living situation.

“I was nervous about being placed in a single outside of PAS because I’m a freshman and upperclassmen can be scary.” Barre said. “I was afraid it would be harder to make friends.”

Pitzer’s administration hopes to avoid these types of issues in the future. Currently, the college houses about one in five students off campus.

“We routinely review our policies and practices, and will do the same this year, in order to continually improve housing accommodations for students,” Carrier said.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the housing shortage was caused by over-enrollment in the class of 2022. The article has been updated to reflect that the cause of the housing shortage was an increase in requests for housing accommodations. TSL regrets this error.

This article was last updated on Sept. 23 at 3:51 p.m.
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