Change for Vanderbilt Student Housing Policy

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 Vanderbilt students are speaking up to enact change in their living accommodations and to voice their discontent with recent policy change. Vanderbilt seniors have long held the privilege of living off campus their last year at the University; however, January 5th, 2018, the junior class was informed that off campus spots were being reduced to around 200 new openings. The Vanderbilt junior class consists of around 1,700 students, thus only around 1/8th of the class was awarded this privilege. The Vanderbilt juniors have been looking forward to the opportunity to live off campus after three years of dorms, and feel that this sudden change is inequitable, especially given the lack of suitable alternatives for us. We understand the University’s goal of creating Living Learning Communities to foster a different on-campus housing environment. However, the reality is that this option is not viable yet. Not all Vanderbilt seniors would be offered spots in these LLCs, rather they could be living in dorms that desperately need renovation, including dorms that have suffered from sewage leakage, bed bugs, and mold. While we support the initiative to build new dorms, it seems unjust to force seniors to live in these old dorms rather than permitting them to live off campus, as has historically been the case, while new LLCs are still being built. Vanderbilt currently charges students $10, 218 for one year of on-campus housing, with an added $675 fee for the “residential college experience” of an LLC. The average monthly apartment rent in Nashville is currently $1,219. At the moment, Vanderbilt’s endowment is listed as $4.1 billion. Students could save over $1,000 by living off campus, and they could experience a well- earned step in maturation by living independently rather than in a dorm. Vanderbilt has taught us that student voices are heard and that we can help shape University policy. We are taking this opportunity to alert the University of our discontent with this policy that negatively impacts our college experience and was reached with limited student input.

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