BY SARAH ALLISON
Beginning in the 2015-2016 academic year, graduate students will no longer be eligible for housing in Assisi Heights.
Starting this fall, graduate students must find off-campus housing. However, current graduate students can continue to live in Assisi Heights as they finish their graduate careers.
This information was first mentioned in February in emails regarding the housing fair and the Assisi Heights housing application.
Although Emily Liuzza, the residence coordinator of Assisi Heights, and other students were made aware of it this semester, the decision has been under consideration for some time by Student Life and by Admissions.
“It’s something that we look at regularly when we meet with a group of people who are involved in housing students,” said Catherine Heck, assistant vice president of Student Life.
The decision was necessary based on the needs of students and the amount of space available.
“We’ve been over capacity for a number of years,” said Heck. “Quite honestly, there just isn’t room. We need to house the undergraduates, and we’re at capacity and beyond every fall.”
Heck mentioned that this is not the first time that Franciscan University has had such an arrangement in place; it has happened before and may happen again. Before the university acquired Assisi Heights, graduate students lived off campus.
Nevertheless, current seniors planning to continue at Franciscan University have had to adjust to the news and start making plans for off-campus housing.
Current graduate student Chris Hartung noted that as a student who came to Franciscan specifically for the graduate program, it has been difficult to stay in touch with campus life while living in Assisi Heights.
“I think it’d be even worse if you were off campus,” he said.
The initial reaction of senior Michael Marton was very clear.
“That’s not good,” he said. “Students, especially grad students, should be given the benefits of living on campus.”
These benefits are things such as being able to quickly and easily reach class and visit professors during their office hours, which can often be challenging for students with a full schedule. This becomes more complicated when factoring in traveling time.
These and other concerns are all well-placed, but new graduate students can also find the positive in the situation.
“At first I was disappointed and a little frustrated, but after thinking about it I’m actually really glad they did it,” said Jackie Conigliaro, senior. “It gives me the opportunity to live more on my own, grow in a different way than I have been and become more of an adult.”
This will not be a sudden change because graduate students will be grandfathered out of Assisi Heights.
“The heights are still for upperclassmen,” said Liuzza. “We’re an older community here, and it’s not going to be void of grad students. It’s a slow process.”