Two’s Company, Three’s A Crowd; Forced Triples On Campus

This fall semester, many first-year students have been placed in triple-occupant rooms in  several complex halls at SUNY New Paltz.  

At times, the College must place students in triple-capacity dorms due to finite spacing  and the vast number of students choosing to live on campus. While some residents volunteer to live in a triple, many prefer to be placed in a double-occupancy room but were put in a triple dorm with two other students as a necessary spacing measure.  

Outside of the college’s rooms that are meant to be triples, there are currently about 64 rooms housing 192 residents in triple-occupancy rooms. Again, some residents wished to be placed in a triple, but the vast majority were “forced” in this housing situation due to late ineligibility.  

According to the college’s Residential Life, there are several factors to consider when deciding which halls would be used for triples. When asked why some residence halls were selected over others to occupy triples, they told The Oracle:

“Rooms in the Peregrine Complex halls were not tripled, aside from the handful in those  halls that are always triple-occupancy rooms, because first-year students are not generally eligible to live in those halls. From there, the rooms/halls that were selected were based on availability (since many rooms across campus were already signed up for by returning residents), triple-eligibility (some rooms on campus are not as conducive for triples compared to others),  coordination with Facilities staff, and an aim to distribute the triple-occupancy rooms amongst  several halls”.

Many students have complained about a lack of space regarding these triple-occupancy rooms outside of Lenape Hall, which is an intended triple occupancy space. In the Parker Complex, despite triple occupancy rooms accommodating an extra person, the dimensions are identical to double occupancy rooms: 12’10” in length and 14’9” in width. However, the triple occupancy dorm includes an extra desk. In the South Complex of New Paltz, the dorms Ridgeview and Esopus have similar dimensions for its triples: 12 ‘8” in length and 15’4” in width. These spaces get away with the addition of an extra person by lofting the right-side bed  and placing furniture, whether it be a desk or a dresser, underneath the loft, with the left-side  accommodation placing two twin-sized beds in a bunked position. 

Students placed in a “forced triple” situation often say their rooms are cramped. First year art education major Gianna Marcheschi agrees, describing living in a forced triple in Esopus Hall as, “Chaotic …We’re in rooms that are meant for doubles that are triples. There’s not that much  space. Especially when all three of us are in the same room at once, it can become a lot.” Marcheschi also states that having one or two guests over in her room makes the space feel even more crowded than it already is. 

Marcheschi was placed in a triple after sending in her portfolio in May, qualifying her as a late SUNY New Paltz commit despite applying for early action. Marcheschi, along with her two roommates, qualified for on-campus triple housing because they were late applicants. Marcheschi also does not believe that there is enough privacy offered in forced triples, especially when it comes to assignments, “Having two other people around you makes it very hard to concentrate on my work,” she says.  

Forced triples are not an issue solely affecting SUNY New Paltz students. This problem  transcends the New Paltz community and happens across the country. Colleges and universities usually provide returning students with the opportunity to select before anyone else what their preferred residential situation is. Freshmen students are considered after the primary process is completed, usually leaving a chunk of the student body in forced triples if they do not act quick enough. Incoming freshmen at SUNY New Paltz were eligible for double occupancy rooms this year if they completed a college application by Dec. 8, 2021. First-year students who completed a college application after this date were told to expect to be in a non-Lenape triple.  

Students in forced triples do receive a discounted price for on-campus board compared to their peers in doubles. Additionally, students who originally paid for a double but were moved to a triple receive a partial cost deduction later. If a student’s room remains occupied as a triple for the entire fall semester, their total refund this year amounts to $1,234.00. In addition, if one student changes their boarding situation mid-semester and moves into a triple, then all three residents will receive a divided refund.  

Normally, SUNY New Paltz can offer remaining triples at the conclusion of the fall  semester the chance to de-triple the occupancy of their dorm. In this circumstance, those  residents would receive a partial refund for the previous semester, but not for the oncoming spring semester. These monetary trade-offs could be viewed as potential perks for some students, although the cons of triple occupancy often outweigh someone opting to live in one.

Being in a  triple herself, Marcheschi does not believe that the reduced cost makes staying in a confined  space worthwhile. “I would not be upset about spending extra money to be in a double if it means I am not on top of someone.”

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About Zander Doring 5 Articles
Zander Doring is a first-year adolescent education in social studies major, making this his first year with The Oracle. He has always enjoyed writing, especially video essay critiques for movies and video games. He is a commuter from the Poughkeepsie area.

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