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Wednesday, October 21, 1998
Houston, Texas
Volume 64, Issue 42


Core Curriculum Discussed

Castaneda Tenure Fight

UH Frosh at TMC







About the Cougar
 

UH Frosh adjust to Med Center life

By William Cordray
Daily Cougar Staff

  For the majority of students at the University of Houston, the Fall semester hs been smooth so far. But according to reports, things could have been better for a few women have to spend this semester housed in a residence hall that isn't located on campus.

 Thirty-eight female incoming freshmen received guarantees for dorm rooms somewhere on campus from the Office of Residential Life and Housing.

 However, a week before school started, most of them had not found out their doomroom assignments.

 The University informed the women it had run out of dorm rooms and that they would be offered roioms at the residence hall of Texas Women's University's facility in the Texas Medical Center.
 


Thirty-eight female University of Houston students are living in the dorms at Texas Women's University in the Texas Medical Center.

 "When we ran out of (dorm rooms), we contacted Texas Women's University and made arrangements," said Andy Blank, director of Residential Life and Housing. "We also looked into apartments that were 15 minutes away from campus and housing that was close by. We also spole with apartment locators who were willing to assist in the situation free of charge."

 The women were given a tour of the TWU residence hall when they arrived at UH. Blank stressed that the students were given a choice of either accepting the TWU rooms of finding their own places, since the rooms on campus were full and auxiliary space, such as television lounges in the Moody Towers, were also full.

 "The women who are living there were given a choice," Blank said. "We didn't assign them. We could have told them that we ran out of room, and that was it."

 Blank explained the women's dorms filled up in May, but housing officials had expected a number of applicants to cancel, so tha housing applicants who filed late were to be placed on a waiting list and would eventually receive a dorm room.

 However, the people who were on the waiting list were not notified of the wait and were instead sent a guarantee for housing on the UH campus.

 Many of the women said they agreed to live in the rooms since they were from out fo town, did not have the money for an apartment, did not have a vehicle or did not want to make the commute from the suburbs of Houston.

 Blank did not know why the applicaants were not notified of the alternative option of staying at TWU until one week before classes began.

 The cost to lvie at the TWU facility was the same as if the women actually lived on campus, but they were not required to purchase a campus meal plan, which is something required of most on-cmapus residents at UH.

 By all residents' reports, the TWU rooms, received better reviews than those in the UH Towers. But they said there have been some inconveniences in living 15 minutes from campus.

 For example, transportation to and from TWU was provided by the Metropolitan Transit Authority's bus service. The women were given complimentary bus passes so they could ride back and forth to UH free of charge.

 They rides were not always easy, they said. Many complained of buses running late, a fear of riding at night and the fact that they were sometimes unable to leave and get food at times the buses were not running.

 Freshman Angela Jackson had a Metro experience of a different kind. Hers involved a bus driver appetite.

 "On the way to school one morning, the Metor bus driver stopped at a Shipley's Donut's," Jackson said. "He got out of the bus and walked back 15 minutes later. He didn't say sorry, he didn't give an explanation, and he didn't even have a bag of doughnuts in his hands."

 However, UH began providing a free shuttle service between TWU and the UH campus Oct. 2. This, in turn, could benefit the women on the weekends, since most of them do not have transportation of their own and are not familiar with the city. The shuttle will provide transportation to and from activities like shoppin and UH athletic competitions.

 "So far I haven't had any problems with the shuttle," said hotel and restaurant management major Patricia Saenz.

 Residents also reported problems with their phone system -- static phone lines and strange busy signals --  and not having a residential adviser until the third week of school.

 Overcoming the difference that came with living off campus, the residents agree, has brought them closer together and given them a new sense of the word "community."

 For the University, Blank said the situation has been a trying time, but one it can learn from. He pointed out that in 1989, a similar incident occurred and a group of students were housed at TWU, but he said, "everyone was happy with the arrangements."

 Blank mentioned that, in order to deal with future housing situations, plans to build new residence halls on campus and other alternatives are being considered.

 UH housing official have also promised the women that they will have rooms in the Towers or the Quadrangle on campus in the future.

 Still, some say they would have reconsidered attedning UH had they known they would be placed in this housing situation.

 "I got accepted to Texas A&M school of architecture as well as UH. both schools are respected in the nation as well as regionally, but Houston was closer to home and I figured I still get a good education," said freshman Jamilah Scott.

 "But if I had known that this would have happened, then I would've gone to Texas A&M instead.

Reach Cordray at
wcordray@bayou.uh.edu
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