Goshen College saw its first protest last semester since before the pandemic. In April, around 60 students gathered with the aim of seeking transparency, communication and equity after the surge of waitlisted students for the Student Apartments.

It has been over five months since the protest, and The Record followed up with leaders of the protest, students unable to get into the apartments and Chandler Buchfeller, the director of residence life and housing, to see what has happened since April.

Immediately following housing announcements last semester, 33 students were waitlisted for the apartments. Of that list, 11 eventually got into the apartments; seven went to Kulp Residence Hall; three went to the Yoder Residence Hall; six are commuting and six withdrew from GC.

Micah Spatt, a senior history education major, didn’t make it into the apartments this semester after failing to submit the mandatory $200 deposit on time. While he acknowledged that he paid late, he explained that it was only due to a delayed paycheck from GC due to the timing of spring break. 

Spatt was disappointed by the lack of initial communication from Residence Life about diminishing availability in the apartments and felt that Kulp Hall, an alternative option for the seniors, was not an adequate solution. He spent a couple of days in Kulp Hall before opting for the air-conditioned Yoder Hall due to a health condition. “[Kulp is] not ideal; it’s super hot.”

Buchfeller reiterated that Coffman Residence Hall is only used for “auxiliary housing operations,” including summer and winter housing for international students and visiting scholars and athletes who remain on campus during breaks.

Daniel Eash-Scott, one of the five leaders of the protest, talked about how the situation felt “unfair” last April, “and still feels unfair to students.” Leaders are still frustrated with a lack of space for upperclassmen within the apartments and Intentional Living Communities (ILC’s).

A potential compromise for seniors or juniors that were forced to live in the Yoder and Kratz dorms was implemented this year. The college changed their policy on meal plans to give them the ability to also opt for the 65-block meal plan, rather than the standard unlimited plan for the dorms. 

The college has also started working with ITS to implement a new automated sign-up system when it’s time to pick housing — the old one was “in serious need of an update,” according to Buchfeller. He hopes that this process will relieve the burden off of both the students and the staff and said that “the plan is, so long as everything works, then that’s going to be what we are rolling out for placement for next year.”

Buchfeller agreed that this process “is probably happening sooner than it would have, had this thing not happened.” 

Eash-Scott also said that “if next year goes better [and] we have more conversations, then it’s a success in my book.”

With reporting contributed by Caleb Shenk

Graphic by Issac Sawatzky for The Record