Updated: Aug 24, 2019
By Javona Pringle
On February 6th, Housing Residential Life sent out an email entitled, “Important Housing Reapplication Information.” The email stated that beginning Fall 2019 Palmetto and Magnolia House will only house incoming freshman and transfer students to, “better support students who are the newest to our campus.” In addition to reserving the dorms for freshman and transfer students, housing has also terminated the option of saving your villa space for the following year.
I spoke with the new Director of Housing and Residential Life, Julie McMahon and asked her questions regarding the current and future situation of housing at Upstate.
Q: How many students currently live on campus, and how much did the on-campus population increase from Fall 2017-2018 to Fall 2018-2019?
A: “We have 902 students living with us. Magnolia, Palmetto and the villas. So in the Fall of 2017, I wasn’t here, but we had 988 students enrolled at the second week. So after we declare no shows, and actually say, this is what our occupancy is, we were at 988. This past Fall we were at 1026.”
Q: If you are planning on building more space for students on campus, when can we expect for them to be finished?
A: “There isn’t a plan for housing that would be managed as part of the inventory. Right now, there is new construction that will be built. It’s referred to as a P3, which means private public partnership and its going to be across North Campus Boulevard. It’s an apartment complex that is designed for upper class students, that will look like Magnolia and Palmetto, but it’s not managed by us.”
Q: Regarding recent events how are you planning to reassure students and parents on the safety of off-campus housing option? (i.e. Campus Edge, College Point, Valley Falls and Campus Evolution)
A: “Well I don’t know what our staff may have done between February 6 and my arrival on April 1. I assume you are talking about Evan’s death. I think it’s important that we do programs about what it means to be a good Spartan neighbor in Spartanburg. Helping students understand that many of those complexes are not student focused. Even though they border our campus, they are not exclusive to student housing unlike what this will be across the street. Whatever has the potential to happen on our campus can happen in your hometown. It’s just a matter of students being diligent and practicing good behaviors when it comes to safety.”
If I were a parent and my child were to attend Upstate following the recent activity happening near campus, I would not feel safe allowing my child to live off campus. Implementing educational programs will only teach the student how they need to act living off campus. This may be a great way for preparing students for transitioning off campus, but what bout the real issue here? What is the university doing to ensure the safety of their student living in these apartment complexes, because to me it seems like as soon as you step off campus the university isn’t responsible for your safety? If that was the case, why do they continue to suggest off campus housing as an alternative option? Over the past few weeks there have been multiple shooting in Campus Edge and College Pointe, and the only thing the university has to say is that they will have extra policeman patrolling the apartment complexes? That’s not good enough for me. I think a perfect alternative to solve the issue would be for the University to purchase the apartment complexes and strictly make them for Upstate students only. The majority of students already live there, so why not? Housing is going to have to come up with more than just some educational programs to convince myself and others that they are safe.