After 38 Scripps College first-years were forced to live off-campus at Claremont Graduate University apartments due to over-enrollment last fall, the college is trying to learn from its past mistakes. It has made changes to admissions and housing policies for the 2018-2019 academic year, including opening the the traditional home of the Scripps president as a dorm.
The Scripps admissions office admitted fewer students for the class of 2022 than the class of 2021 in the hopes of enrolling fewer people, Scripps spokesperson Elizabeth Hamilton wrote in an email to TSL.
The college also plans to utilize its waitlist more than in past years to ease the number and rate of admissions. These changes to admission policies may help mitigate the current housing issues.
Scripps will renovate Revelle House, a home currently available to Scripps President Lara Tiedens, to house up to 20 Scripps students starting in the fall semester, Director of Campus Life Brenda Ice announced. The house will feature two quads, a triple, four doubles, and one single.
Jackie McVay SC ’21 said she would like to live in a Revelle House double because of the community that she anticipates there.
“The shared living space in the Revelle House sounds like a unique place to call home,” she said. “It’s an exciting opportunity. … I’d love to have access to the backyard and gardens.”
Even with the extra space, though, tensions from this past year linger, particularly over how much to compensate the students who had to live at CGU and commute to Scripps via shuttle.
For housing selection this year, those students were allowed to pick on-campus rooms even before rising seniors.
“I know a lot of upperclassmen are probably unhappy and feel inconvenienced because of our priority housing,” said Alexa Sanchez SC ’21, who lives at CGU. “I just feel like after the year we’ve had, we deserve to live with our friends and have a great year on campus.”
One particular point of contention is that students living at CGU will be able to pull their friends into their priority housing along with them.
Claire Pukszta SC ’19 said she is frustrated with the administration’s decision.
“They forget that other rising Scripps students have also had extremely difficult rooming situations. We have lived in buildings without air conditioning and have lived in rooms exceeding their intended capacities,” she wrote in a message to TSL. “We have sat quietly and dealt with rooming at Scripps for the last three years because we were promised good housing senior year.”
Scripps is not planning to use CGU or other off-campus options for housing during the upcoming school year, Hamilton wrote in an email to TSL. However, Hamilton declined to comment on whether CGU or other off-campus housing will remain an option the college will consider in the future.
Many students at CGU housing have expressed dissatisfaction and frustration with their living situations.
“After living at CGU this year, I’ll probably never consider living off campus,” Sanchez said. “My roommate and one of my suitemates actually moved out second semester. … The transition was a little difficult and just reminded me how temporary and makeshift the community at CGU was.”
Sanchez said living at CGU has generally made socializing more difficult.
“I’ve found my communities and I’m very thankful for that,” she said. “It just took a lot more effort to find those spaces and those communities than if I would have lived on campus.”
However, some CGU first-years say there are positive aspects to living off-campus. In an opinion column for TSL, Rui-Jie Yew SC ’21 wrote that she believes the physical separation between school and home was beneficial for her mental health.
Non-CGU students have also taken issue with the Residential Life Office.
Last fall, when Talia Bromberg SC ’20 and her roommate attempted to move into their Dorsey room, they couldn’t find it. When they contacted residential life, they were told that it had been converted into a closet without anyone in the office informing them.
“The architects of the renovation and Res Life didn't seem to have communicated about this at all,” Bromberg said. “We spent the next week or so worrying about where we would live. We were afraid that we would be moved off campus to CGU, which neither of us wanted.”
Bromberg said that although she did end up in a forced double with her roommate, she “wasted a lot of time sitting in the Froutt lobby, waiting for non-existent news about where I was going to live and with whom. Although [they] are very nice and well-meaning, there was definitely a communication breakdown.”