Residential life deans cancel 5C Housing Exchange program

Sarah Chin SC ’20 (left), Julian Cohen PZ ’21, India Whatley SC ’20 and Joseph May PZ ’21 live together in a suite at Mead dorm at Pitzer College. The housing exchange program that allows Scripps College students to live at Pitzer is being canceled. (Elinor Aspegren • The Student Life)

Starting this fall, 5C students will no longer be able to choose to live at a different school in the consortium.

The Claremont Colleges’ residential life deans are canceling the 5C Housing Exchange program, which allowed undergraduate students to swap housing arrangements with each other and live at a different college from their home campus, the 7C Residential Deans announced via email Friday.

The deans said the program had “low student participation and posed more complications and less benefits to all involved.”

The exchange required a student at one college to find another student at a different 5C to switch with them, according to Claremont McKenna College’s website. Each student then participated in their home institution’s room selection process and chose the room for the student with whom they were switching campuses.

The program’s cancellation came as a shock to many 5C students.

India Whatley SC ’20, who lived at Pitzer College in the Mead dorm this year, said the program was “a really fun part of the consortium.

“These schools don’t exist on their own,” Whatley said. “It gives you a different experience than you would have had at [your home institution].”

Dana Harris CM ’22 was thinking of transferring to another one of the 5Cs, but she said the CMC Dean of Students office suggested the 5C Housing Exchange as an alternative.

“To me, the housing exchange was a sign of hope — I could finally feel at home, and still be academically involved in the college of my dreams,” she wrote in an email to TSL.

Harris “was crushed” when she heard the program was cancelled.

“Not only would I have felt much more at home at the 5Cs, but had I made the switch, I would be closer to some of my classes, and be able to make new friends at another campus,” she wrote.

Whatley said the process was “really easy.” Harris agreed, writing that it was “well worth the opportunity to feel at home again.”

Others, such as Adela Pfaff PZ ’19, disagreed. Pfaff helped a friend participate in a housing exchange from Pomona College to Pitzer College last year, a process which was “time-consuming.”

“My understanding of the housing exchange is that you need [a] legitimate reason to switch housing between two colleges and lots of time to coordinate with the residence life staff from both colleges,” they wrote in an email to TSL. “The process takes quite a bit of time, and isn’t something that you can resolve in a week or less simply due to the busy schedules of the housing directors at the 5Cs.”

Pomona’s housing director, Frank Bedoya, declined to comment, but said he would provide a statement in the coming days. None of the other school’s administrators in charge of housing could be reached by press time.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

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