When UNT offered students $1,000 in exchange for their dorm, six out of 177 students that were offered the buyout took the money, Associate Director for Housing James Fairchild Jr. said.
The buyouts were offered after there were not enough dorm rooms for the 5,522 incoming freshman. Along with the buyout offers, freshman were also housed in predominately upperclassmen dorms and roomed with resident advisors.
“The buyout funding came from regular housing operating funds,” Fairchild said. “The use of the buyout option by Housing was approved by the Vice President for Student Affairs, Dr. Elizabeth With and Associate Vice President for Auxiliary Services, Danny Armitage.”
After sending out the buyout offers, a total of $6,000 was distributed to students from the university, leaving six spots open for freshmen on the housing queue to claim.
According to the freshman admissions website, a requirement for freshmen that pertains to most incoming undergraduate students are to be housed in a “university-operated residence hall, as long as space is available.”
The buyout offers were first sent out on Aug. 2 to a first wave of upperclassmen to try and make more available housing spots for freshmen. A few days later, on Aug. 5, the buyout was extended out to an additional wave of upperclassmen, but many students refused the offer.
The housing queue, prior to the fall semester, has been full for both upperclassmen and incoming freshmen. Giving freshmen priority to housing, the university made a handful of attempts to get this issue situated.
“Funds were posted to the students myUNT account,” UNT Associate Director of News Leigh Anne Gullet said. For students who accepted the offer, the offer was automatically sent out into their financial status on their myUNT account.
UNT requires all students seeking to live on campus to make a $350 payment up front in order for their application to even be considered for housing for the following semester.
“Acceptance of the buyout resulted in deletion of their room and meal plan assignments, reversal of all assessed charges, release from the terms of the Housing License Agreement, refund of their paid housing pre-payment, and application of the $1000 incentive to the fall 2019 term,” Gullet said.
Christina Bridges, an elementary education sophomore who was one of the six students that were offered and accepted the buyout, remains unaware of receiving the $350 refund for the housing application.
“Unless that was a part of the $1,000, they never specified,” Bridges said in regards to wondering when the original $350 would be received.
Aside from unrest about getting issued the full refund, the $1,000 and housing pre-payment, students said they still find this whole housing situation to be a mess.
A communications major who is an RA spoke on behalf of the issue but wanted to remain anonymous due to their position.
“This is very unfair because people who paid in advance to get these singles [rooms], ended up with a roommate and those who got doubles [rooms] ended up with triples,” the RA said. “It caused a lot of conflict within the residents themselves, parents and the staff overall.”
Following their previous statement, the RA found this buyout to be an “inconvenience” and “not a smart option at all,” saying that RAs worried about students not being able to find a stable living situation and or not being able to find transportation to and from campus.
Students of the university did say they find that this situation should have been handled more properly and UNT should have not have accepted as many students as did.
As of right now, freshman are still rooming with RAs as long as needed.
Featured Illustration: Jeselle Farias