Staff Editorial: Housing Mismanagement Hinders Student Success



Undergraduate residents at Fordham Lincoln Center (FLC) might imagine their college dorm experience to be glamorous, especially given Fordham’s marketing as an oasis in the middle of Manhattan. However, this fall, many students have been disappointed by a confusing housing registration and placement experience that has crammed in as many first-years as possible and left other students stranded. We believe that Fordham has a responsibility to provide its students with adequate housing, and the university is not meeting these standards this year. 

Students are facing forced double and triple bedrooms, with up to nine people living in apartments originally built for only six people in McMahon Hall. A lack of communication has further plagued the housing process, and residents have suffered because of Fordham’s mismanagement.

The Office of Admissions guaranteed housing to 150 more new students than the school anticipated, creating an overcrowding problem in the residence halls at FLC. Twenty FLC students have been placed in residence halls at the Rose Hill campus, forcing them to commute.

This oversight comes despite confirmation from the Office of Residential Life (ResLife) in the spring of 2022 that it could “accommodate all students who completed their housing applications” for the fall 2022 semester, and that overcrowding in FLC residence halls would no longer be a problem.

While first-year students are packed into FLC’s two dorms, some returning students found themselves with nowhere to live just weeks before the start of the fall semester. Students who are offered housing at FLC when admitted are guaranteed housing for all four years of their undergraduate education unless they previously moved off campus or missed the housing application deadline. These students are put on a housing waitlist and are not guaranteed to get a room assignment.

One student told The Observer that she was notified only a week before the semester began that she would not be receiving housing at either of Fordham’s campuses. With no time to find off-campus housing and living too far from campus to commute, she had to take a leave of absence because of ResLife’s lack of communication. Poor administrative planning should not derail a student’s academic career. ResLife is putting students’ lives on hold because of poor planning and communication, and it is unclear why FLC is unprepared to accommodate its residents, despite a smaller incoming class size than in past years and ResLife’s previous confirmation of its ability to do so.

New York City is home to notoriously high rents, and Fordham must assist its students rather than contribute to this problem.

Fordham has a responsibility to provide its students with adequate housing. New York City is home to notoriously high rents, and Fordham must assist its students rather than contribute to this problem. 

There are several different approaches Fordham can adopt moving forward. First, the university can rent out more space in nearby apartment buildings or build additional dorms. While this would be the most obvious solution for a less urban campus, FLC has limited space to build additional dorms, and we do not want Fordham to contribute to the city’s housing crisis by further reducing the available housing supply. 

More realistically, the Office of Admissions should work alongside ResLife to admit a class size that the school can better accommodate. ResLife must also communicate earlier with students who will not receive housing so that they have sufficient time to make other arrangements. This solution would prevent students from being packed into a dorm with too many roommates or being stranded at the last minute and having to put their education on hold. Even with spare time, it is difficult to find an affordable apartment in New York City, especially for students who may not have experience with apartment hunting. 

We also believe that ResLife should provide students with additional resources to help them find off-campus living arrangements by giving students advice for finding affordable housing and connecting students with realtors. Fordham does provide some tips on living off campus on their website, but this information is not readily accessible or adequate for helping students find housing. Considering the lack of on-campus housing opportunities, Fordham has a responsibility to its students to connect them with off-campus housing. 

Students cannot thrive academically without a roof over their heads, and if Fordham wants its students to succeed, the university must be prepared to provide its students with places to live.