Housing shortage won’t improve soon

Even with plans for construction of a new sophomore residence hall and a new Greek village, the number of beds available to students living on campus still would not reach the Vision in Action goal of two-thirds of the university’s projected enrollment, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Don Mills said Thursday at a meeting of the Student Relations Committee of the Board of Trustees.

The committee did not vote on any proposals or resolutions, including any concerning housing, during the meeting.

Mills showed the committee slides with diagrams of a proposed site for a sophomore residence hall that would be expected to add 300 beds at the corner of Bellaire Drive North and Stadium Drive, along with plans for where a new Greek village housing would be along Bellaire. He also showed slides with projected housing figures based on the university’s growing freshman class size and growing number of upperclassmen who have wanted to live on campus in previous years.

Even if the new housing were to be completed by the fall of 2013, Mills said the VIA goal of 5,500 on-campus beds for the projected 8,000 undergraduates would still fall short. The total number of on-campus beds available would be 4,791, or a little less than 60 percent according to the slides Mills showed.

Aside from housing, Mills also brought up the bill passed by the Texas House of Representatives in March that would allow anyone with a concealed handgun license to carry a gun on the state’s college campuses. Mills informed the committee that if a similar bill passed the State Senate and became law, university administrators wanted to take advantage of a provision that gives private institutions the choice to opt out of the law.

Before coming to a final decision on what the university will do, Mills said the university would hold a town hall meeting on April 28 in the Brown-Lupton University Union to hear the opinion of students, faculty and staff on the issue.

Other events at the meeting:

Mills introduced his successor, Kathy Cavins-Tull, for the post of vice chancellor for student affairs at the beginning of the meeting.

Student committee members made a presentation titled “Building the Alumni of Tomorrow” to other committee members that addressed such issues as a need for more space in the Brown-Lupton Health Center, academic advising, student use of Career Services and financial aid. Student members included Student Body President Jackie Wheeler, Student Body Vice President Brett Anderson, Interfraternity Council President Matt Ngo and Panhellenic Council President Jenny Mason.