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Stony Brook University’s radius policy leaves incoming freshman without on-campus housing

Photo of Roosevelt Quad which houses some of the incoming freshman students. During the fall 2023 semester, approximately 77% of first-year students lived on campus, and around 9,868 total students lived on campus. BRITTNEY DIETZ/THE STATESMAN

Stony Brook University’s Campus Residences has recently taken several steps to reduce housing occupancy on campus, including barring incoming students who live within a certain distance of campus from living in on-campus housing.

While the radius policy has always existed, it is only enforced when “overoccupancy exists even after a reasonable number of rooms are temporarily tripled,” according to the Campus Residences Terms of Occupancy for the 2024-2025 academic year.

Campus Residences has also taken the step of offering a cash incentive to current students who cancel their housing for the upcoming academic year.

According to an email sent to students by Campus Residences, students who cancel by noon on May 31 will have the $100 cancellation fee waived, while the first 250 students who cancel their housing will each receive $500 from the University.

The email from Campus Residences claimed that the offer was made to “clearly identify students sooner who do not want to live on campus.”

For some incoming students, the enforcement of the radius policy has put a wrench in their plans and led to concerns about how the University communicates with its students.

Ezza Park, an incoming freshman majoring in sociology, had the opportunity to attend Binghamton University but ultimately decided to commit to Stony Brook. However, after receiving notice from Campus Residences that she had been denied housing due to the radius policy, her confidence in Stony Brook has been shaken.

“It does kind of make me question, or make me feel as if I can’t trust Stony Brook and their departments,” she said.

Despite being within the distance for the University to deny her housing due to the radius policy, Park is unable to commute to campus and does not own a car. When she attempted to explain this to Campus Residences in an email, she said she received a response that was “not helpful at all.”

She was, however, able to fill out a form explaining why she couldn’t commute to campus and is waiting to hear back from Campus Residences on whether or not she will be granted an exception to the policy. If she doesn’t receive an exception, she may have to look for off-campus housing, which she says will come with its own set of challenges.

“If I don’t get housing, I may need to look into off-campus housing which also isn’t ideal because I don’t have a car, and some of the apartments are like 5-15 miles away from the campus,” Park said.

She’s not the only student who has these sentiments. Andrew Falco, an incoming freshman majoring in respiratory care, told Newsday that he was so disappointed by the University canceling his housing that he began asking other colleges that he was accepted to if he could attend in the fall.

“Commuting is practically impossible,” he said.

In a statement on the Campus Residences website, the University blamed the higher number of students requesting on-campus housing on the extended May 15 commitment deadline. The deadline to commit to Stony Brook was extended after problems with the federal financial aid process prevented many students from obtaining necessary information from colleges before the usual May 1 commitment deadline.

The website also stated that approximately 300 students were affected by the radius policy, though as Campus Residences “[works] to address each student’s needs and receive housing cancellations, this number is decreasing.”

During the fall 2023 semester, approximately 77% of first-year students lived on campus, and around 9,868 total students lived on campus.

Students affected by the radius policy are put on a “priority waitlist” to receive housing, which ranks them above those on the general housing waitlist. But for Park, this does little to soothe her worries.

“It seems like everyone else was also put on the priority waitlist,” she said.

In a statement, University officials apologized for the incident and said that they were working to solve the issue.

“We apologize for this disruption and are committed to providing a high-quality first year experience,” the statement read. “A significantly higher percentage of students accepted our offer of admission and requested on-campus housing than in previous years. While this may positively reflect Stony Brook University’s increased appeal, we know this doesn’t address the housing concern for our students and their families.”

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About the Contributor
Sky Crabtree
Sky Crabtree, Assistant News Editor
Sky Crabtree is an Assistant News Editor for The Statesman and a sophomore studying journalism and political science. He joined the paper in the spring of 2023 as a news reporter and was promoted at the end of the same semester. Outside of The Statesman, he works as a news intern for WSHU Public Radio and hosts "The Political Corner," a segment on the Stony Brook Media Group's news show.
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