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The partnership perception in higher ed housing

Universities not often involved in construction and management of private, off-campus housing
University Business, September 2016

In 2016, news outlets across the nation reported several accidents and inconveniences in private student housing developments.

In Baltimore, a Morgan State University student was fatally stabbed in such a housing complex. At the College of Charleston in South Carolina, a student fell over a sixth-floor railing and was taken to the hospital in critical condition.

And on the eve of finals, 80 UNC-Charlotte students were evacuated from a private housing complex because their building was sinking and deemed unsafe.

“These private student housing developments are popping up all over near campuses,” says Claire L. Turcotte, managing editor of the Society for College and University Planning’s publication Planning for Higher Education. “Some of these developers are more focused on profit than safety and student needs.”

The bigger problem is the perception that universities are involved in the construction and management of private, off-campus student housing developments, says Allan Blattner, president of ACUHO-I. “There are lots of private developments around colleges that have nothing do with the colleges. When something bad happens, universities often feel the backlash.”

Since universities have no control over off-campus developments marketed to students, Blattner suggests that administrators encourage students and their parents to reconsider campus housing.

“What we can say is, ‘We have room for you on campus; come back,’ ” he says.

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