No need for squatters to abandon ship

By The Beacon | March 2, 2011 9:00pm

Shipstad Hall squatting woes resolved despite wing switch

(Photo illustration by Alexander Domingo -- The Beacon )

By Luke Riela, Staff Writer --

Next school year, Shipstad Hall is switching from six female residence hall wings and two male wings to an even ratio, according to Shipstad Hall Director Tyler Ochsner.

"The goal was to create a truly balanced coed community," Ocshner said.

The decision created some stress for female students in Shipstad Hall last Thursday who wanted to "squat," or secure housing for the following year in the same residence hall, according to freshman Marissa Shumaker.

Thursday, Feb. 24, was Shipstad Hall's squatting night, when current residents lined Shipstad Hall lobby to hopefully be called to sign their housing contracts.

"It's really a mess right now," Shumaker said of the squatting process.

She was concerned some female students who showed up still wouldn't be able to get a spot in Shipstad Hall.

Ochsner was also worried about women showing up for squatting night and not getting approved for housing.

"Realistically, I didn't think we could get all the female squatters back into Shipstad," Ochsner said.

He pointed out there were more female squatting applications submitted than there were spaces available.

However, in the end all current female residents in Shipstad Hall who wanted to return secured a spot in the dorm.

One reason for the limited space is that some of the rooms must be reserved for freshmen arriving next school year.

"We want to have a good blend of freshmen and returners in the community," Ochsner said.

Some students were not only worried about space, but were also frustrated about having to sit around the lobby on a school night.

"I wish it would have been handled differently or at least on a Friday," freshman Erin Spies said.

Freshman Katrina Palancia would have preferred to find out if she was accepted for squatting via e-mail, instead of in person.

"Why do they have to waste our time when we could have done this electronically?" Palancia said.

Both Spies and Palancia were in favor of the upcoming wing switch, but wished the squatting process was a bit simpler.

"This isn't ‘American Idol,'" Spies said, referring to being called up one by one.

Ochsner commented on the difficulties of setting up the squatting process, especially when faced with a lack of housing for female students.

"It has been stressful and created some anxiety for female residents," Ochsner said. "Housing can be a pretty complicated process."

Ochsner said he was still trying to improve the squatting process since it was initiated just last school year.

"There were some misunderstandings that needed to be clarified," Ochsner said.

According to Ochsner, the initial e-mail about the squatting process wasn't clear to some residents, so a couple more were sent out.

Spies said she was definitely thrown off by all of the different e-mails she received about squatting and didn't know ahead of time that the submission date of the squatting application determined priority among freshmen.

"They kept changing their minds," she said. "It wasn't until (last Tuesday) we found out it was first come, first serve."

For some female residents, the squatting process wasn't much of a hassle. Freshman Allie Teel said she was high on the list to be accepted for squatting and was easily able to get a third person into the room from another residence hall.

"There was a lot of tension, but I luckily filled out my application on time," she said.

According to Ochsner, everyone who showed up on squatting night was able to get a spot despite the puzzlement.

"It was confusing, but it got worked out," Ochsner said. "Nobody was turned away on that night."

All female squatters made the cut because some who filled out the squatting application decided against it.

"About 12 people jumped off the list, so that worked out really well," Shipstad Resident Assistant Hayley Brand said.

Female residents were ecstatic to take the extra spots after much uncertainty.

"Everyone at the end of the list was really happy to make it in," Brand said, referring to residents jumping up and down after being called.

Ochsner was also glad about the result.

"I am relieved for all the Shipstad residents that were able to get back in," he said.

(Photo illustration by Alexander Domingo -- The Beacon)