Campus deals with record growth

Higher enrollment this academic year has led to more sophomores being allowed to live off campus.

Photo by Andrew Smith

Due to an increase in incoming freshmen, the university needed to allow sophomores to live in off campus housing to create space in campus residence halls.

Sophomores looking to live off campus must apply for an exemption to the sophomore housing requirement during the fall semester.

By the spring semester, students who applied for an exemption will know whether or not it was granted to them.

According to Residence Life Director Frank Bartlett, getting an exemption is much easier this year than it used to be due to lack of space in the residence halls.

“In prior years, you had to have a certain GPA and couldn’t be on probation,” Bartlett said.

This year, exemptions were given to a set number of students based on the order in which they applied.

Photo by Andrew Smith

“Before, there were barriers, but this year the barriers are not there,” Bartlett said.

Bartlett said the university typically wants freshmen and sophomores to live in campus residence halls.

“The original freshman and sophomore requirement was put into place for financial reasons,” Bartlett said. “But there have been studies of student success.”

These studies have found students who live in the residence halls tend to do better academically.

Still, Bartlett said he believes having less sophomores on campus might be easier for the university.

“We have been extremely crowded for a number of years,” Bartlett said. “And living in the residence halls isn’t what everyone desired.”

According to UW-Whitewater Police Chief Matt Kiederlen, having more students living in off-campus housing has not made a significant difference in the amount of police interaction with students.

“Anytime you see a larger population, you see more incidents,” Kiederlen said. “But we are not seeing much more than in the past.”

In an interview earlier this semester, Kiederlen said though campus police services have noticed a small increase in activity due to the new housing implementation, it’s most likely due to an increased awareness of a new situation.

“Do we have a little more activity than normal?  I think it’s probably fair to say yea, we do, but is it astronomical and crazy?  No,” Kiederlen said.

“It’s a new situation, I think it’s kind of under a microscope right now, everyone’s watching to see, so I think maybe we’re noticing more there than we are in our residence halls.”

Kiederlen said calls to the housing units have been nothing out of the ordinary and nothing that has made police services “think this should never have been allowed.”

According to Kiederlen, the current off campus housing situation is something that will probably continue for the next few years and the university is already looking towards the future.

“We’re actually looking down the road, what do we have to do to make this better, what other things do we have to do here to make it feel more like a residence hall facility,” Kiederlen said.  “It’s really just a matter of everyone learning to live and work with a new situation and how things will be handled.”

As of earlier in the semester, discussions were being held between UW System legal and Whitewater’s city attorney as to how jurisdiction for the housing complexes would be handled between university and city police.

University administrative disciplinary codes extend to the Cambridge and Fox Meadows off-campus housing complexes.

Assistant Complex Director at the Cambridge apartments John Witte said the approximately 200 students living in apartments through the university are different from other residents of the apartments because they still have to sign a university housing contract.