SC State students face housing concerns as they return to campus

Published: Aug. 16, 2022 at 5:39 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 16, 2022 at 8:11 PM EDT
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ORANGEBURG, S.C. (WCSC) - Classes start Wednesday at SC State University in Orangeburg, but some students say the housing situation across campus is still full of confusion.

Students say many upperclassmen moved in on Tuesday, but some people still haven’t officially moved onto campus. They say, despite applying and paying for housing, their assignments have been moved around at the last minute and delayed.

Makayla “Shae” Long is a junior, orientation leader and 1890 Scholar at SC State University.

“I love my HBCU,” she said over and over. But she’s frustrated that the university seemed unprepared to handle the housing for so students this year.

“There’s no communication. I have a friend that’s in the same scholarship cohort that I am and she doesn’t even have housing anymore because they gave her room to a freshman. So she’s having to commute back and forth to Charleston just to come to class, like they’re starting classes tomorrow,” Long said.

She said she thinks the university needs to focus on creating more livable and desirable housing to accommodate an influx of students, knowing that upperclassmen need a place as well.

In a statement, the university says it has funding to renovate Sojourner Truth Hall to open up more housing on campus in the near future and the administration also is exploring other options to develop more residence halls at SC State.

Isaiah Payne is a senior who says he was looking forward to living with his friends in the coveted Andrew Hugine Jr. Suites. The Living and Learning community is located on campus, while supplemental housing like University Village and Campus Corner are just off campus.

“Basically the whole senior class that was in Hugine all got moved out and went to UV and it was just crazy,” Payne says.

He says the off-campus sites have their own safety and parking problems.

“Me, personally, the reason I wanted to be in Hugine is my classes are all right in this engineering building and it’s right there,” Payne said.

Students say many of them couldn’t get in contact with the office about their changing housing assignments, and that’s where the frustration is coming from.

Jasmine Shuler is a returning sophomore at SC State University who says drove two hours from home to the office on her move-in day to try and clear up her questions.

“I came early in the morning as well as at 2 p.m., and I didn’t get housing. And it seemed like they didn’t even care, they were like come back Monday or Tuesday. Like you’re not respecting my time that I took out to come here,” Shuler said.

The university says as of Monday evening, the office successfully placed all qualified students who were on campus awaiting housing assignments,

The university confirmed that it accepted the biggest freshman class in 15 years, and because of that they are using supplemental housing next to campus, and students likely won’t get their first pick of location.

Students still say they were unfairly assigned freshman dorms at the last minute and delayed moving into off-campus housing during the hectic process of the past few days.

Morgan Mack is a third-generation student and junior at SC State University. She says she has a lot of pride in the school and wants to see it thrive and that’s why the situation is so frustrating.

“We’re not trying to be a bother, we’re just trying to get things straight. And just the runaround of going to this person, going to this person, going back to this person, then they’re telling us something different,” Mack said.

A University press release states the office continued to place students who had met the requirements on Tuesday, and they expect to resolve all other requests in short order.

To check into residence halls, a student must have satisfied all financial obligations, including housing fees, for the fall semester. The university says any student who has not checked into their residence hall should contact the Office of Residence Life & Housing as soon as possible.

Tyrell Rudolph and Kerrion Smith are seniors and orientation leaders. They say it’s been a great few days getting to show freshmen around campus, and working with the ones who are still sorting out their housing.

“They moved all the freshman to Hugine, which that’s supposed to be an upperclassmen dorm, but now all freshman live there. So they moved all the upperclassmen, they moved them to UV or Campus Corner,” Rudolph said.

Some students mentioned that when they arrived and learned of their delay or switch in housing, advisors told them to get a hotel for the time being while they worked on placement. Students were struck by the suggestion, thinking about the cost.

“I’ve also heard they’ve moved some upperclassmen into freshman dorms, yet there’s still freshman that don’t have rooming. We all have bulldog pride and bulldog tenacity but we got to call the school out when we see something messed up,” Smith said.

The university also says they continued to receive and process housing requests after the deadline, which led to some delays in assignments.

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