In August, The Purdue Exponent, Purdue University’s student-led newspaper, first reported that due to an overpopulation of on-campus students, some students were being placed in makeshift housing that some have deemed “unsafe” for comfortable living.
The Exponent wrote: “With an excess of admitted students, Purdue University Residences continues to place some students in makeshift rooms in the basements and study lounges of residence halls around campus.”
More than 100 students have been placed in these temporary housing arrangements according to the Exponent. Up to 10 people have been fit in some of the spaces, but most commonly, one or two students have been placed into randomly assigned rooms located around Purdue’s campus.
After photos of the room went viral, students have been quick to share details about the poor living conditions in these makeshift housing spaces, comparing the rooms to prison cells.
“It’s a basement conference room divided up into cubicle-like spaces with furniture,” a student anonymously told Buzzfeed News. “There is no window. There is no privacy or anything else.”
Indeed, privacy has been a major concern for the students living in these makeshift residence hall spaces. Due to the fact that there is limited space, all personal items have to be locked away at all times since there are so many students coming in and out of the buildings used for temporary housing.
Students have also reported seeing cockroaches in their shared living spaces, which is a major health concern. University housing students have a legal right to live in on-campus housing that is free from bug infestations, meaning that Purdue University is potentially violating students’ rights.
In response to a series of complaints regarding the safety of Purdue’s temporary housing assignments, the Indiana Department of Homeland Security has officially announced its intention to look more deeply into the matter to ensure that students’ safety needs are met.
Although Purdue University has defended the housing assignments as the standard response to the housing shortages that certainly does not make the situation acceptable. Hopefully, Purdue University will be able to collaboratively work with the Department of Homeland Security to better meet the needs of the students who have paid to live in the dorms at Purdue.