The Institute’s student life is a terrible, cruel joke

Despite housing world-class academic programs and research labs, Tech has fallen short of its responsibility to, at the very least, provide services to its students that are worth the prices that students are being charged. 

From a housing application akin to a gladiator match to the death to the subpar housing that students are fighting tooth and nail for to parking lots falling into disrepair, Tech is not keeping up its end of the bargains they have struck with the student population.

A few weeks ago was one of the most dreaded days of the spring semester for many students: the day that the housing application opened for returning undergraduates. Unlike previous years, students had to fill out a separate form to vie for a time ticket to sign the housing contract.  

On the day the Institute released the form, students had less than a minute to submit before receiving a spot on the housing waitlist. In fact, an email that Housing and Residence Life sent out to students on the waitlist said that “more than 2,200 students submitted the Housing Intention Form in the first 25 seconds of the form opening.” 

The fact that students had mere seconds to submit a form to secure housing on campus is truly ludicrous. There is no world where this competition for
campus housing is justifiable. 

For over 20 years, Tech neglected to build any new residence halls or to maintain the ones they have, all while accepting “record high” numbers of students and claiming that this is a good thing for the school. Now, instead of building more housing to accommodate the exponential growth in the undergraduate population, the school is building a mega-dorm for freshmen exclusively to house them as they perform the long overdue maintenance on the current freshman housing so that it doesn’t get legally condemned. It will in fact likely be years before the new dorm being built significantly increases the number of beds the school actually has available in campus housing due to the long list of high-priority maintenance items that require current residence halls to not house students for the scale of repairs that are required.

If a student gets lucky and wins a chance to live in campus housing, they have actually won the ability to reside in overpriced housing requiring numerous neglected repairs. For example, a bedroom in North Avenue North Apartments costs each student $4,950 per semester for the 2023-2024 academic year. This total adds to $9,900 for the entire year from Aug 21, 2023, to May 2, 2024, making the monthly price approximately $1,164 per student (counting the term as 8.5 months). If a student lives in a four-bed, two-bath unit, which makes up the majority of the units in the building, this means that the total monthly rent being paid is $4,659. This price is absolutely outrageous for what students receive, when for a total price within a couple hundred dollars, an entire house in Home Park with more bedrooms and bathrooms can be rented. 

Beyond being overpriced for the amount of space you get, the quality of life available to students within campus-run housing is lower than what can be expected elsewhere. Even within the North Avenue Apartments (NAV) complex, which is generally considered one of the nicer options, many problems arise. 

First, there is the fact that NAV South is known for being the worst of the buildings because of how many rats make their home in the same building as the students and for its lack of renovation in comparison to the other three buildings. 

However, these other three “nicer” buildings have their own concerning issues. During my time living in two separate NAV East apartments for an academic year, the issues I’ve experienced have been vast and unrelenting. 

It would rain through my window so intensely we had to stuff a towel into the top of the window so that our floor would not be soaked, our air conditioner broke when it was over 90 degrees outside, my maintenance requests were ignored until I emailed the hall director, our oven simply did not work and maintenance refused to fix it, my roommate’s bedroom light will not turn on, her blinds fell out of her window, the air vent in our bathroom simply does nothing and maintenance left a broken garbage disposal filled with food rotting in a closet for so long the smell was creeping into residents’ apartments. 

These issues are minor in comparison with other students who have experienced flooding, roaches and other plagues of biblical proportions. This is all not to mention the building-wide issues impacting the 600+ students living in the building: elevators constantly out of order, front door buzzcard readers being broken, the ridiculously loud and disruptive construction happening to the building facade, the laundry room typically only having five out of the total 20 washing machines working at any point in time and the constantly clogging garbage chute.

Meanwhile, the housing department touts the meaningless improvements they have spent their budget on instead of fixing issues that actually impact students’ quality of life: they repainted half of the hallways in NAV East, they replaced the lobby furniture and they are allegedly replacing the locks with physical keys into Buzzcard readers. Beyond the fact that the funds would much better be used elsewhere, it seems ill-fated to replace reliable locks with Buzzcard readers when the ones at the turnstiles and building entrances are broken on a nearly biweekly basis.

Not only is housing a nightmare, so is parking. The NAV South parking garage has been broken for two weeks now without any notice or response from the Parking and Transportation Services (PTS) office. 

Two weeks ago, the entrance gate broke so they resorted to leaving the exit gate constantly open and blocking the broken entrance with an entirely unrelated “pedestrian walkway closed” sign. After they fixed the entrance gate, they moved the strange pedestrian sign but have yet to fix the constantly open exit gate to the parking area that students pay upwards of $800 a year for. 

All the while, PTS failed to notify or respond to anyone who holds a parking permit in the area. Meanwhile, much of campus is shrouded in loud, unpleasant construction that obstructs the daily rhythm of students trying to walk down a campus sidewalk or study in peace in the dorm room they are being charged an arm, foot, leg and also their teeth for. 

Tech is ignoring one of the most basic needs that students need to be successful: a roof over their heads. They are trying bandaids to fix a problem that requires a tourniquet, all while doing less than the bare minimum and charging students exorbitant prices to live and park on campus.