The University of Missouri – Columbia (UMC) is restricting access for incoming freshmen to two of its residence halls, Respect and Excellence, because of a decrease in student enrollment. This decision was made on UMC’s behalf to utilize their halls in the most economical and effective manner possible, associate director of MU News Bureau Christian Basi said.
“It’s much more efficient for us to operate full residence halls than it is to operate residence halls with several vacancies,” Basi said. “We would be paying for additional utilities and additional maintenance and upkeep which we wouldn’t necessarily need. There’s quite a bit of money that can be saved in that.”
Respect and Excellence halls will be closed off until the need for additional space is absolutely necessary. Until then, the University will take the opportunity to do some regular maintenance and upkeep in Respect and Excellence halls, both of which opened in 2004 as the first newly constructed halls of UMC’s Residential Life Master Plan.
“I think that for sure it was necessary, but they should have notified enrolled students — particularly the freshmen — sooner than they did,” current senior and prospective UMC student Clayton Warder said. “I was surprised, but I understand that the halls would be a huge cash drain if Mizzou tried to keep them open.”
Similarly, restricting Respect and Excellence halls did not alter senior Selma Zweifel and her roommate’s housing plans, who received their first choice of residency for Johnston Hall.
“It didn’t affect me and my roommate’s choices because we wanted community style and both of [Respect and Excellence] are suite style, so we got good choices,” Zweifel said. “We really liked the location of Johnston. I love working out, so being right by the Recreation was a plus for me.”
Additionally, UMC announced in March they would be closing Lathrop and Laws Halls for demolition ahead of schedule by four months because of declining enrollment.
“Because we knew we were having lower number of students on campus and it would cost us a lot of money to move students out of those halls in the middle of the academic year, we decided to simply move up the timeline to [Lathrop and Laws] halls to January 2017 because we wouldn’t need those spots,” Basi said.
According to Columbia Daily Tribune, UMC is expecting an enrollment decline of about 1,500 students in the fall semester, an aftereffect of racial conflicts that slewed on campus last November. All freshmen are required to live on campus or with their families during their first year at the university.
“I understand the logic in trying to fill up the other dorms first, then maybe opening those back up,” Zweifel said. “Mizzou is a good school and it’s a shame that the issues that have happened is affecting the enrollment. I think everyone knew it would happen, but not to this extent. I’m still excited to go and I think it will be an awesome experience.”
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