SIU dorms down 600 residents, 3 Schneider Hall floors to close

Daily Egyptian file photo

Daily Egyptian file photo

By Anna Spoerre

This fall, 600 fewer students will be moving into SIU’s residence halls, officials said. 

The top-three floors in Schneider Hall will be empty as a result of decreased enrollment, particularly in the incoming freshman class, said Jim Hunsaker, senior associate director of housing operations. 

Vacancies will primarily be in the towers, as well as University Hall on east campus and Thompson Point on west campus, Hunsaker said. However, Wall and Grand Apartments — traditionally designated for upperclassmen — are at capacity this semester, he said.

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Jeanne Lady, senior director of residence lifesaid there were originally six residential assistants assigned to cover the three floors when hiring decisions were made in the spring, prior to the closure. But not everyone hired to be an RA this fall filled the positions for various reasons, she said, so no one was laid off.

Lady also said some floors will have fewer residents.

A number of floors traditionally set up with two RAs will be reduced to one because the floor will only have 20 or 30 residents instead of 50 or 60, Lady said. 

No new RAs are being hired this semester — as would typically happen to fill vacancies — because some RAs were moved into openings on other floors, she said.

Hunsaker said the reduction saves the university in cleaning costs for the vacant floors and hired RAs.

As of noon Tuesday, Lady said, an exact number of the reduction in RAs was not immediately available. 

“It’s just something the whole university is feeling right now,” Hunsaker said of the tightened budget and the decrease in university housing residents. “We’re doing more with less.”

The reduction in residence comes during a time when public universities are feeling the effects of an ongoing state budget crisis.

At the end of June, Illinois politicians passed a stopgap budget to provide some funding to state-funded institutions. However, this is only a temporary fix.

University enrollment fell below 16,000 students in the spring, which was down 878 students from spring 2015.

Official enrollment totals for this upcoming semester will not be released until 10 days after the first day of the semester, which is common, SIU spokeswoman Rae Goldsmith said. 

“Enrollment will be down for a host of reasons, including the lack of public confidence in the state budget,” Goldsmith said.  

Features editor Anna Spoerre can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @annaspoerre

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