By Nami Nagaoka
During spring break, some students are forced to face difficulties due to Youngstown State University’s housing contract, which doesn’t allow students to stay in their assigned dorms on campus.
According to Ian Tanner, associate director for residence life, there were only 32 students that requested housing for this past spring break — only 4 percent of the total students who live in university housing during the academic year.
Ten applicants out of the 32 were international students.
Furthermore, 17 of them requested to stay less than three nights. YSU provided Lyden House for temporary housing, but those staying would have to pay $26 a night, or $205 for the whole week. The whole week price includes $70 Pete’s Points to eat.
“With limited number of students requesting housing during break, there is no need to have more than just one residence hall open,” said Tanner. “If we had more students request break housing, we would accommodate them by keeping other residence halls open.”
TJ Pham, a senior from Vietnam majoring in chemical engineering, moved to the University Edge dorm from Cafaro House dorm last year.
“[Living at the University Edge] is more convenient [than living] by myself, and I can stay during a break,” said Pham, “[YSU] should have limited housing … for free [for] whoever signs up for housing.”
For the 2016 spring break, he had to leave Cafaro house but continued working at the Andrews Student Recreation and Wellness Center.
“Mostly I travel in summer, so I don’t wanna spend my money [during spring break],” Pham said. “I had to find a place to stay … ”
Pham ended up staying with a friend from Boardman, who had to take Pham to work at the Rec Center when he was scheduled.
Rachel Davis, a senior majoring in English, is currently working as a RA in the Kilcawley House. Davis said properly housing international students and providing them with adequate services is an important part of their YSU experience.
“[International students] make up an important part of the residence halls and they help us to [create] true diversity in the community,” Davis said, “There should be more accessibility, like a bussing system, [available] for the international students.”
Tanner said the housing office had a meeting the past fall semester with the International Programs Office (IPO). Tanner said IPO brought some concerns that some international students were having, including difficulties about finding safe and affordable housing off campus.
Tanner and others who work within housing and residence programs are attempting to make changes to make international students’ stay at YSU more welcoming and inclusive.
“[We’re] working with the international programs office to make sure that we can find them some off-campus [housing],” Tanner said. “If they ever want to move to off campus, maybe move to the Courtyards, we can help coordinate for that a little bit so that there is an easy transition.”
According to a story from WKBN earlier this year, there are seven students that are affected by President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration at YSU, and the International Programs Office is prepared to provide assistance to those affected.
Also, Tanner said the YSU housing office will be offering a support for those students who would get stuck if they go back home during the break due to the Trump’s order.
During the summer semester, some apartments on campus are open, but every dorm on the campus is closed.
“In that the situation, [international students] can definitely contact our office, and we can handle on a case-by-case basis,” Tanner said.
The housing office can give international students break housing if necessary, Tanner said.
“We can definitely accommodate and make sure that students are in a space … ,” he said.
“We wanna treat [international students] like we would [treat] anyone else.”
This will go by a case-by-case basis, Tanner said. Students in need of housing during breaks can reach out to the housing office, talk to Tanner or Kate Fitzgerald, director of Housing and Residence Life or contact IPO.