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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Graduate student housing to include Respect Hall, Tiger Reserve next year

The Department of Residential Life plans to assess the success of the new housing options midway through the 2016–17 year.

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Previously closed as a result of low enrollment, Respect Hall will now be a housing option for graduate students this fall.

George Roberson/Photographer

For the first time in about 15 years, the Department of Residential Life will offer on-campus graduate student housing, Director of Residential Life Frankie Minor said.

In April, Residential Life announced that Respect and Excellence halls would not be available for undergraduates.

Now, the department will convert Respect Hall to graduate student housing. In addition, Tiger Reserve, an off-campus apartment complex previously providing undergraduate housing, will be exclusively for graduate students next year.

The university currently operates 335 apartment-style units in Manor House, Tara Apartments and University Heights, collectively referred to as University Student Apartments. Tiger Reserve will add 42 graduate apartments for the 2016–17 year.

The small number of units Tiger Reserve will offer next year will act as a pilot program to gauge graduate student interest for future housing like this, Minor said.

“We typically have more [graduate] students requesting to live in university-owned or operated housing than we have in our stock,” Minor said. “So in trying this out with Tiger Reserve, we’re going to see if this is something we can use in expanding our capacity without necessarily building new apartments.”

One of the three overarching recommendations in the Task Force on the Graduate Student Experience report released in December 2015 was to improve access to housing and childcare. The report stated that “there is a clear need for safe, quiet and reasonably priced graduate housing that is close to campus.”

The 2015 MU Graduate Housing Market Survey found that most current graduate housing options are “in old buildings and are generally small.” According to the survey, over 75 percent of all graduate students said that providing housing was either “extremely important” or “somewhat important.”

Minor said that graduate students’ response to the new housing options hadn’t been “overwhelming,” but added that Residential Life was in the early stages of promoting them.

The department is still working on how it will staff Respect Hall next year, Minor said. He said that because graduate student needs are “very different” from undergraduates, fewer staff members were needed and less educational programming would be provided.

Respect Hall is suite-style housing, but all rooms will be offered as single rooms instead of doubles. Residents will share a bathroom with another student in an adjacent room but will not have a roommate. The rent will include a Campus Dining Services meal plan.

Residential Life sent an informational email to incoming graduate students about a week ago, Minor said. The department will email returning graduate students this week.

Edited by George Roberson | groberson@themaneater.com

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