Spelman students ‘homeless’ due to limited on-campus housing next semester

Published: Mar. 25, 2022 at 12:44 AM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - Hundreds of Spelman students protested Thursday after learning they would not be able to live on-campus during the upcoming academic year. Students claim the placement issues have been an ongoing concern for years and it’s why the HBCU undergrads argue the situation is even more unacceptable.

“No housing, no peace,” students repeatedly yelled across Spelman College just before noon. The young women claimed there has been one too many issues with housing.

“I haven’t told my parents. I was kind of nervous. Like how am I going to tell them that I’m homeless? Like what am I going to do,” one student told CBS46. The freshman asked us not to use her name.

Once the placement portal opened online Thursday for on-campus units, the website had technical glitches due to a ‘high volume of users’ according to an email obtained by CBS46. Then came another emailed alert from the housing office saying in part, “All on-campus housing for the upcoming academic year has been selected. Unfortunately, there have been more students interested in living on campus than rooms available for several years.”

The message recommended an off-campus location. An option dozens explained they cannot afford.

“It costs $4,000 more than the dorms. So it’s not a feasible option for me and many other students on financial aid.”

The undergrads confirmed they later learned from an administrator Spelman only had 1400 beds available.

“The math isn’t math-ing,” laughed one of the protestors, who asked to be unnamed.

She believes the college has not done enough annually to meet the demand of its more than 2,000 full-time students.

“You have people coming from North Carolina like me. You have people coming from Florida, other places. Some people come from different countries.” She continued, “they can’t commute.”

Adding insult to injury, some students found out they’d possibly be homeless while they were at convocation, an enrollment welcome session.

When they walked out in protest, a dean sent an email informing the students that if they left convocation early, they’d fail ‘FYE.’

FYE is the Freshman Year Experience credit required to graduate, students told CBS46.

“I feel like as a school founded on resistance to what is norm, you shouldn’t respond that way to students,” a second-semester freshman said.

However, the dean involved later sent an additional email apologizing and pointing to potential make-up opportunities for convocation.

Still, students claim at least 500 of them are struggling to figure out what is next.

“I’ve never been in a situation where I’m uncertain about where I’m going to stay and dealing with it on my own, without the support of people nearby. It’s disheartening.”

According to the rally organizer, some administrators agreed to meet with students next week to address a list of demands. CBS46 reached out to a Spelman spokesperson multiple times Thursday, we are still awaiting comment.

UPDATE: CBS46 received the following statement on Friday morning:

The College encountered a technical issue with the site that allows students to make housing selections. As a result of the issue, students were unable to make a housing selection for the fall of 2022.

Working with our national vendor, we were able to restore the site to complete the selection process. The housing application process is now closed.

As a result of the challenges with the site, students raised several concerns regarding housing at Spelman. We appreciate hearing from our students and community members on issues related to their wellbeing. We are continuously working to accommodate the needs of our students and we have identified additional on-campus housing that will allow us to house all incoming first-year students and all rising sophomore students who have applied for housing, as well as those who have been placed on the waitlist.

In addition, the College will offer off-campus housing to juniors and seniors in proximity to Spelman’s campus.