By Julia Maher, ’23
The freshman year of college can be quite a rollercoaster. Not only do students live with more independence, but they also experience numerous changes to which they must adapt relatively quickly. One of those changes, at most colleges, includes living with at least one roommate. Many students have never shared a room or bathroom with another person, let alone two or more. Living with other people for the first time is a rewarding, challenging and memorable experience that most people will not forget.
At Holy Cross, first-year students are placed into either a double, triple or quadruple dorm, and they have no choice in which one they are placed. Although most students live in double dorms, there are many students who live in triples and some who live in quadruples. Students who live in triple dorms have a room as large as a standard double, but they have two roommates, not only one. Students who live in quadruple dorms, however, have a much larger room than the standard double room because there are four students in it. Students who live in forced triples—which are the same size as doubles—are not given a discount off the cost of their housing. Holy Cross should discount students who are placed into forced triples because they have very limited personal space, and a discount would benefit students who struggle to afford their college education.
Many colleges have implemented the policy of a triple room discount. For example, the University of Rhode Island offers a discount of 15% off the housing charge, which becomes a credit on the student’s account. Additionally, both the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Northeastern University also offer an “Economy Triple” dorm option, which gives the student a discount of almost $1000 off the cost of their housing. It is only rational to give students a discount if they are placed into a forced triple.
There is obviously a shortage of housing for the number of students who attend Holy Cross. If the College does not give a discount to students who live in triples, they should either accept fewer students or build a new residence hall. In recent years, Holy Cross has accepted increasingly more students. In 2018, they accepted about 7,000 students, while in 2019, they accepted over 7,200 students. Clearly, the College accepts too many students for how much housing they can offer. If they do not want to accept fewer students, they must build a new residence hall to accommodate the growing student population. If Holy Cross invested over $80 million to expand the Hart Center at the Luth Athletic Complex, then surely they can build a new residence hall to uphold the basic needs of students.
Ultimately, it is not fair to place students into forced triples, where they will lack personal space, without offering a discount off their cost of housing. Many students can benefit from a discount and would choose a triple because not everyone can easily afford to attend Holy Cross. If the College truly wants to embrace their values as a Jesuit institution, then they must care for the whole person of each student and treat each student with equal respect.