Many on-campus residents had a poor experience this August, but who is to blame?
Early this semester, many students staying on campus and their parents were quick to point out a plethora of issues with the Department of Residence Life. Many complaints were regarding delayed contracts, late roommate assignments, air conditioning outages, and an overall lack of communication.
Some were quick to blame this on the new management company, as shortly before this, the Department of Residence Life switched management to rental housing company Greystar. However, an anonymous residence life insider has come forward to clarify what exactly went wrong – and who’s to blame.
Residence life being operated by a third party is not unique on campus. Cleveland State University outsources many of its services, including the Recreation Center (CENTERS, LLC), Dining Services (Aramark), and Bookstore (Follett). These departments run independent of CSU in many ways, including with independent employees.
Prior to the switch to Greystar, on-campus housing was operated by American Campus Communities (ACC). Employees were given the update that ACC’s contract was to end in July 2021, but further details on renewal or changes were undetermined.
Our source shared all they knew was that ongoing discussions were taking place, and CSU representatives were taking more time to evaluate if ACC was “worth keeping.” After much waiting, it was announced in July that Greystar would take over, but not until Aug. 1, just 18 days before move-in began.
Because of this delayed process, many important decisions and information were pushed back, resulting in residents not knowing their room numbers or roommates until a week- or sometimes- two days, prior to move in.
This also affected year-round residents, some of whom were forced to frantically move rooms, while new residents waited in the halls to move in to their vacated space. Others found their rooms unlivable, with trash and even dirty dishes left over from summer programs who had last occupied the space, which was overlooked by housekeeping in the shuffle.
During the first weeks, a high volume of room change requests- attempts to remedy roommate requests that were not granted amidst the chaos- caused additional headaches for many. Still, it may not be the Department of Residence Life to blame.
The contract decision that delayed all planning and preparation was a decision made by university representatives. This decision was being contemplated for a long time, but only made official at the last possible second. With more time, Greystar and residence life staff would most likely have been able to manage a much smoother start to the semester.
At the end of the day, residents were still subject to an unpleasant experience, regardless of who was responsible. However, those affected should wait to pass judgement, and know that the behind-the-scenes circumstances that caused this are unlikely to reoccur.