When Emilee Manske SC ’21 was tired, lost, and wanted to return to her room after a late-night orientation event near the Scripps College gym, she called Campus Safety and asked for a ride back to where she lives – the Claremont Graduate University apartments.
The 5Cs “encourage all students, including those who reside in the CGU apartments to use [Campus Safety for rides],” Director of Campus Safety Stan Skipworth wrote in an email to TSL. “The requests coming from those students [have] not placed any extra burden on our staff or our services.”
But Manske said Campus Safety told her that since she lived in the apartments, 0.6 miles north of campus, she had to take the shuttle that runs until 2:00 a.m. every night. After several minutes of debate, Campus Safety eventually sent someone to take Manske and her roommate back to the apartments. But she was unsettled by the experience, and now does not feel like Campus Safety is reliable.
“They’re supposed to take you anywhere anytime, especially if you’re a Scripps student and you want to go back to your dorm,” Manske said. “They should be able to take you back.”
Manske is one of the 38 Scripps first-years who lives in the CGU apartments, which are a 12-minute walk from campus, as a result of Scripps enrolling its largest class ever – 329 students.
Watch: What it’s like to live a shuttle ride away from The Princeton Review’s #5 Best Dorms
“We know that our applicants often have many great offers to consider, so we aim to admit enough students to meet the enrollment target,” explained Laura Stratton, Scripps director of admission, in an email to TSL. “What we didn’t anticipate was that more students would accept our offer of admission than we expected.”
One day before Scripps issued room assignments for the class of 2021, Chloe Lesh SC ’21 received an email from her primary contact dean, Leslie Schnyder, informing her of a “great opportunity to create community” and asking for the best phone number at which to reach her.
When Schnyder called Lesh, she told her that Lesh was one of the 40 randomly selected first-year students that would be living off-campus at the CGU apartments for the entirety of the year.
Two of those selected students were able to move on-campus. Audrey Simmons SC ’21 submitted a housing change request before school started. When a first-year didn’t show up after a week and a half, she was able to take her spot.
Lesh, however, never learned about the housing change request.
“When I received the news that I wasn’t going to live on campus, I was obviously disappointed and a little bit nervous because I’m a first-year,” Lesh said. “I wanted to be on campus so I can experience what a dorm is actually like.”
Lesh was sent a follow-up email which described the apartments as “very nice” with “two generous-sized bedrooms” to accommodate four students. The email said the student-bathroom ratio is “at least as good for these apartments as it is for any other students assigned Scripps housing.”
Daphne Liu SC ’21 doesn’t think her apartment lives up to its promises.
“They told me it was much bigger. It wasn’t a lie, but they embellished it,” Liu said. “They said there would be a common area and a living room area, and I walked in here and there’s nothing.”
In addition to the lack of amenities, there are no printers for the students to use at the CGU apartments, according to Lesh. When Lesh needs to print out homework, she said, she takes the shuttle to a residence hall on campus.
“It just makes it a little difficult if you know you have to print something out for class, you have to plan that into your day as well,” Lesh said.
And when she does go on campus, she brings everything she needs for the day.
“Even if you have a break in between, it’s just inconvenient to come back here if you have to ride the shuttle,” Lesh said.
Manske said she spends about an hour waiting for and riding the shuttle every day — she goes back and forth between her apartment and Scripps several times. This wait time may change when students get their promised lockers in the Scripps Student Union above the dining hall.
There is only one shuttle, which runs every 20 minutes from 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m., with a 20-minute break in the morning, an hour-long break after lunch, another 20-minute break in the late afternoon and a final hour-long break at night. In addition to offering the shuttle, Scripps has guaranteed a bike for any Scripps student at CGU who needs one for the academic year. The students also receive their first choice for housing next year and $2,000 for a laptop, according to Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Charlotte Johnson.
Vice President of Business Affairs Dean Calvo said housing costs at the CGU apartments are “comparable to the student room charges at Scripps. When the cost of additional amenities is factored in, the per student cost to the College is higher.”
Despite having a functioning kitchen, the students are required to stay on the 12 or 16-meal plan even though they live in alternative housing, which otherwise would qualify them for the five-meal plan, Johnson said.
“The hope is that they will take most of their meals at Malott or one of the many dining halls at the consortium, which provides students, especially first-years, an opportunity to get to know and socialize with Scripps students and students from the other campuses,” Johnson wrote in an email to TSL.
Helen Norcini SC ’21, the fourth roommate of Manske, Liu, and Lesh, started with the 16-meal plan and switched to the 12-meal plan after the first week. Still, she says she’s never used all the meals. Instead, the four roommates buy food and cook in their kitchen because it’s not worth the trek to campus if they’re not already there, Manske said.
But the kitchen sink gets clogged easily, Manske said, and the four first-years have had to wash their dishes in the bathroom sink on multiple occasions. They also experienced a severe ant problem last week, which required an exterminator to come and spray the apartment.
“There have been some complaints and adjustments made based on feedback we have received,” Johnson acknowledged in an email to TSL. “The need for room repairs and ant extermination are not exclusive to the apartments, and Scripps addresses these concerns when they are raised by any Scripps student.”
Despite the unreliable sink and tight living quarters, Liu sees a silver lining in her housing situation.
“I do appreciate having my own bathroom, good roommates, [and being able to] cook our own food.”
Pomona College also experienced a shortage of on-campus housing, but not because of first-year over-enrollment, housing director Frank Bedoya said. The admissions office was on target with their goal of 435 incoming first-years. However, a higher number of students wanted to live on campus than could be accommodated, as a result of over-enrollment in the class of 2018, Bedoya said.
Bedoya sent students an email in the first week of August offering $500 to cover the cost of a bike and other expenses for students willing to move to the College Park apartments, approximately 0.9 miles from the center of campus. Eight students volunteered to move into the two apartments, none of whom were first-years, he said.
“It’s always better if you end up with people who volunteer to go instead of forcing them,” Bedoya said. “It’s easier when they’re friends and not random people living together.”