After weeks of discussion of reduced housing density, the picture of what the fall semester on campus might look like is becoming clearer — with reduced dorm occupancy forcing students in triples to split up.
Seton Hall's Department of Housing and Residence Life (HRL) emailed several resident students on Wednesday morning informing them that they must change their housing plans for the fall semester, with the University reducing occupancy to two students per room.
“We know this is not what you chose when you participated in housing selection and that this change is a sacrifice on your part,” the email to affected students from HRL said. “However, due to the community needs we face for the fall semester, we will work collaboratively with you in making this change.”
The email explains that there are three scenarios for students currently signed up to live in a group of three.
First, any resident in the group can volunteer to move. If no student volunteers, if one student entered the room from a housing waitlist that student will be forced to switch rooms.
If no students volunteer and none came from a waitlist, HRL will reassign the student with the latest housing deposit date.
“HRL encourages residents living in triples to discuss this with their roommates to determine the best course of action,” the email said.
Students looking to voluntarily switch out of their triple must do so by 9 a.m. EST on June 26.
It is currently unclear where these students will be reassigned or whether their priority points will be considered. However, students will not necessarily be able to stay in the building they chose during housing selection, according to HRL.
The announcement comes after University President Dr. Joseph Nyre discussed his plans to reduce housing density in an attempt to reduce transmission of COVID-19.
“Even if the state imposes no density reduction in residence halls, we’re going to go ahead and impose them,” Nyre said in a May interview with Asbury Park Press.
The reduction in density accompanies other changes to housing intended to accommodate reopening amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Wednesday The Setonian reported that the University also plans to use Ora Manor, Seton Hall’s off campus apartment on Valley Street, as housing for ill students.
Associate Dean of Students Winston Roberts said that removing tripled dorms is a necessary part of reopening.
"We know that asking a student to relocate from a room they originally selected is difficult request to make and a sacrifice to ask of the student," Roberts said. "However, we have determined that not having tripled rooms is one of the positive steps to take in terms of the health and safety of our students to mitigate the spread of COVID-19."
Daniel O’Connor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find him on Twitter @itsDanOConnor