Scripps transfers placed off-campus speak out on ResLife’s lack of transparency

Scripps building in the sunlight
New transfer students at Scripps express frustration with Scripps ResLife after being placed in off-campus housing. (Wendy Zhang • The Student Life)

Since the start of the 2023-2024 academic year, transfer students at Scripps College have reported dissatisfaction with their placement in off-campus housing at the Claremont Collegiate Apartments (CCA).

Expecting to be placed on campus, transfer students found themselves disconnected from the Scripps community without explanation, raising questions about the transparency of the Residence Life (ResLife) office.

Beatrix Karambis SC ’26, who transferred to Scripps this semester from UC Santa Barbara, told TSL that she wanted to live on campus to feel close to her peers after transferring from a large university.

After ResLife told Karambis to join a waitlist for rooms on campus, Karambis said she and her mother were later informed that transfer students were placed in predetermined housing to create instant bonding between those navigating a new environment.

While on the waitlist, Karambis was frustrated to learn that other transfer students had been automatically placed on campus, even though she had been told that this was not possible.

“I knew two transfers who were assigned to a quad, but they only put two people in the quad and it had two rooms and just had a ton of extra space,” Karambis said. “So I knew a lot of people who had open spaces but ResLife is telling me that they’re full, and it just seemed very unclear.”

Scripps’ ResLife did not respond to TSL’s inquiry on why some transfers were placed off-campus by the time of publication.

For these Scripps transfer students, being off campus has posed many challenges to making new friends and connecting with the Claremont community, in addition to the difficulties inherent to adjusting to a new school.

Saylor Cole SC ’26, a transfer student from The New School in New York City, said that she considered CCA an upgrade and didn’t mind her living situation. Still, Cole said she faced challenges befriending people outside of her transfer group.

“So, that’s great that I have [transfer friends], but I really don’t feel like I’ve met almost anybody that’s a [non-transfer] sophomore at Scripps,” Cole said. “I do appreciate having met all the other transfers and then giving us an effort, making an effort to have us meet each other because it’s helped.”

As her living situation at her previous college required daily commutes, Cole said she joined Scripps for a close-knit community. However, living off campus has acted as a barrier during her transition process at Scripps.

“I do think I would have preferred to live on campus and I feel like we have a valid reason to want to live on campus as we’re trying to adjust to the school,” Cole added.

Asha Jain SC ’25, a transfer student from American University in Washington, D.C., also said she was frustrated with the commute necessary while living at CCA.

Carmen Brown, Scripps assistant dean and director of campus life, told TSL via email that CCA is “within walking distance to campus” and Scripps “provide[s] a free shuttle for students.”

However, both Jain and Karambis reported feeling unsafe commuting back to their apartments, especially alone. Jain said that the shuttle is inconsistent and is rarely on time.

“Not only is it isolated, but they also just make it really challenging to live here,” Jain said.

When Jain emailed ResLife over the summer regarding living off-campus, she said she received a description of CCA’s living situation that did not match her experience. Jain said the email from ResLife told her she would have access to an engaged residential community of college students, daily shuttle service, on-site Residential Coordinator and direct access to botanical gardens.

California Botanical Gardens, which is affiliated with the Claremont Colleges, adjoins CCA to the east. Admission is $6 with a student ID.

Maya Weigel-Murphy SC ’25, who transferred from San Francisco State University, is one of the three Scripps transfer students placed on campus.

“I love the campus culture here and I feel definitely way more connected than I think I would if I lived off campus,” Weigel-Murphy added.

Weigel-Murphy, Jain, Cole and Karambis all questioned the decision to put some transfers at CCA and others on campus without clear communication between the students and administration. Jain said she felt unsupported throughout the process, while Karambis said she was confused by Scripps’ decision.

“I think it’s just really weird to put almost all the transfers off campus. That just seems like a weird choice to me in the first place,” Karambis said. “It seems like a systematic problem.”

Still, the months-long back-and-forth between transfers and administrators has started leading to solutions. After her housing request was pending for over two months, Karambis said she was able to move onto campus this past week, which is “a win.”

“I really appreciate it finally working out,” Karambis said. “I’m not trying to just complain for the sake of complaining or anything.”

Cole and Jain, who have also engaged in extensive communication with ResLife, have yet to receive more clarity on their living situations.

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