University should prioritize housing

Daily Editorial Board

One of the University of Minnesota’s newest Panhellenic members — Chi Omega — is looking for a permanent residence outside of its temporary home at the 17th Avenue residence hall.
 
 
Since Chi Omega’s recolonization last fall, its Pi Beta chapter has already become campus’s largest chapter, with 154 members. Next fall, Phi Mu will also return to the Twin Cities campus.
 
 
Both of the sororities’ arrivals are part of a larger, school-wide effort to expand greek life. In 2012, a University task force reported that Minnesota had the lowest greek enrollment in the Big Ten, and it set a goal of adding at least three sororities by 2018.
 
 
But now, officials are worried that housing shortages could complicate growth for fraternities and sororities.
 
 
Amid continuing strategies for increasing University enrollment, the Twin Cities campus still doesn’t have enough space to house new students. The school aims to provide 5,500 beds for first-year students, but last fall, more than 5,700 such students enrolled.
 
 
The University ranks at the bottom of the Big Ten here, too, with beds available for just 23 percent of undergraduate students.
 
 
At its meetings this Thursday and Friday, the University Board of Regents will discuss — among other issues — a five-year undergraduate enrollment plan alongside long-range residential housing needs.
 
 
We urge the board to continue to prioritize finding ways of providing affordable housing for all of its students, many of whom struggle to afford increasingly expensive off-campus living.