The quarter mile has become a shantytown.
Students are huddled in pathetic, bedraggled tents – many of which have Freezefest blankets duct-taped to their sides in a sad attempt to block more of Rochester’s volatile weather.
“And as if the weather isn’t bad enough,” grumbled Regina Phalange, “we are now being almost completely ostracized by the rest of the school since we aren’t cool enough to live in real housing.”
This dire situation has resulted from RIT’s recent decision to accept all students, regardless of ability to house them. This intrepid reporter did some undercover sleuthing in Kate Gleason Hall in order to more fully realize the effects of the housing situation.
The current implementation of the policy is four students to a double, seven to a quad. There are officially no more open lounges, and the squalor and filth is beginning to take its toll on all those that live on dormside. Maintenance can no longer keep up with the mess and there are constant lines for the showers — many students no longer bother washing themselves most weeks.
“My residents are being driven mad,” said third-year Resident Advisor (RA) Duke Silver. “They have no privacy, no safety. The other day I broke up a fight between two guys who were trying to claw each other’s eyes out because one bumped into the other. There is no room for beds, so they have to sleep standing up. They just keep snapping over minor things because they have no space and haven’t slept in like a month.”
My own visit to dormside was cut short when all the fire alarms went off and people ran from their rooms. In the midst of the chaos, Silver stood there shaking his head.
“They keep setting fires in order to clear out the rooms for a space to breathe. They get like 15 minutes of freedom before Public Safety comes. Apparently the blaring of the alarms is better than having to deal with six other roommates all the time.”
The Survivor Solution policy that was implemented right before winter break has not seemed to help any of these problems at all: RIT decided that the best way to deal with the overflow of students was to have them vote their least favorite roommate out of the dorm.
The best way to deal with the overflow of students was to have them vote their least favorite roommate out of the dorm.
When asked about the problem, President Wrestler merely shrugged.
“We didn’t want to risk losing any tuition dollars, but we also didn’t want to spend any money on any new buildings,” said Wrestler. “So we decided that the best option was to kick the losers out of the dorms. And that’s when it struck us that if we filmed it and turned it into a reality show, we could potentially make as much money as 'Survivor.'”
They chose to call this freshmen-filled "Survivor" spin-off "Freshmeat." Almost a third of the students were kicked out of the dorms in a way that embarrassed them in front of the entire school, causing tensions to run high.
“It was shameful,” said Etaoin Shridlu, a first year Basket Weaving major confessed. “I was stressed out when first coming here, you know? You move all the way across the country to what you think is the finest basket weaving school in North America and it’s hard to break out of your shell and fit in. My roommate kept her place just because she released snakes into the hallway, which caused a few kids to faint and be kicked out.”
The snow day pushed many of the tent-dwellers to the edge. The blizzard made it difficult enough to plow out areas of the campus, but several students could barely survive the event.
“I left a goddamn tundra to get away from shit like this,” said Sheldon Stark. “I lost two toes to frostbite and I am pretty sure my tentmate wanted to eat me. The worst part is, the tent costs the same amount as living in the dorms. They don’t even cut the cost of your housing when they kick you out.”
"I am pretty sure my tentmate wanted to eat me."
Percy Pimpernel is trying to lead a student revolt against the current establishment.
“We started with some trivial stuff, ya know? We didn’t want to create a scene that would make us seem like dumbasses, but we also wanted our voices to be heard. Basic vandalism seemed like the best option.”
Those broken windows? Those stink bombs and “Eat My Shorts” graffiti? Well, it all comes back to Pimpernel and his League of Fucking Frustrated Freshmen Outraged with the Absurdity that is Currently Occurring with Housing (LoFFFowtAtiCOwH).
“We meet once a week to figure out what the next plan of action is. We think that next week we will TP the Sentinel,” said an anonymous member of the LoFFFowtAtiCOwH. “If you really care about our cause, you will find us and join us. Otherwise, you are just as bad as they are.” Anyone is welcome to join, although the location and time are all kept secret to the general public.
For now, the shantytown along the quarter mile continues to expand as more students get kicked out of their dorms and are left to live in dilapidated tents in humiliation.
We asked Wrestler when this madness would end.
“Well, we figured that the ratings we got on 'Freshmeat' were pretty good, right?” he said. “So, I guess we will go to other pop culture phenomena for ideas because frankly, we are making bank right now. 'The Hunger Games' is big, yeah? Maybe we will have students fight each other for shower rights or something. Although we don’t want them to kill each other, we wouldn’t get money that way. More of a gentle beating would be optimal. It’s a tough balance, you know?"
"More of a gentle beating would be optimal." - President Wrestler