Website crash clouds HRL’s attempt to stabilize housing crisis

Eaton Residential College pictured above on Jan 15. Photo credit: Stefania Papadopulos

The University of Miami Department of Housing and Residential Life (HRL) announced a new application process with hopes of smoother room selection for those seeking on-campus housing in 2023. With no guarantee of accommodation, many students are gearing up for another battle for on-campus housing.

When the application opened on Feb. 3, the application website crashed, creating a long line of anxious in-person visitors at HRL’s office on the first floor of Eaton Residential College. Most students who came in-person were looking to resolve an issue regarding their roommates. For some students, there was a glitch in the application that switched their gender, resulting in an incorrect list of roommates.

“It’s been a busy week. We had the most in-person visitors we’ve had in a long time,” junior Julian Villeta, a student employee at the HRL office, said. “Students usually solve issues over email. The gender issue took up about 60% of the phone calls we received.”

A payment glitch caused applications to look like they went through, but in reality those applications were not completed and resulted in an error.

At the time of publication, HRL had failed to respond to a request to comment.

“The issues I had while applying were an error in submitting my payment and then figuring out how to accept roommate groups. It was confusing,” first-year broadcast journalism student Annie Watson said.

The housing application for continuing students closed on Feb. 9 at 11:59 p.m. Continuing student housing room selection will take place Feb. 15 through Feb. 21, starting with University Village (UV), Lakeside Village (LSV) and then Eaton Residential College (Eaton).

During the spring 2023 semester, HRL contacted some students with more than 60 course credits to leave Eaton and move to the UV. Those who decided to move immediately were promised housing for next year. Study abroad programs and UMLA have created vacancies, soon to be filled by students living in THesis Hotel. Current UV residents have the best chance of securing housing next year as they can reselect the room they have now.

“I decided to move because I was told I would have a better chance at getting housing next semester,” second-year creative advertising major Aris Montero said. “As an international student, I can’t commute due to not having a driver’s license that is valid in the U.S., so I wanted to have a secure plan for next year.”

Instead of basing it on the individual’s housing/enrollment deposit date, appointment times for room selection will be generated at random. However, appointment times take group size into account. Times will be emailed directly to students in the afternoon of Feb. 10 for UV and LSV and in the afternoon of Feb. 20 for Eaton.

There is a larger inventory of four-bedroom options, so students who have a suitemate group established during the application process will have a better chance of receiving on-campus housing.

Juniors and seniors will only be eligible to live in University Village allowing space in Lakeside Village for rising sophomores only. For students who were unable to select a room, waitlists are available to join depending on preference.

Catch up on The Miami Hurricane’s coverage of UM’s housing crisis here.

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