Due to overcrowding of the dorms at Northern Kentucky University several student athletes have been moved into the nearby off-campus Highland Ridge apartments. The athletes pay residential tuition for them. This has caused controversy among some of the students who live on campus.
Many students are upset that they were not informed about the lack of dorm space, and are insulted that the athletes were given the apartments without the input of the students currently living on campus. In fact, the first time many of them had heard about it was when The Northerner ran an article about it at the beginning of the school year.
“I don’t think that it is fair that athletes got to go and live in those apartments instead of students who had seniority, especially since they are putting three people in some of the Woodcrest apartments,” said Hannah Barnett a junior and three-year dorm resident.
Although new dorms are in the process of being built, they will not be completed before next school year. To alleviate the overcrowding problem this year, one of the most feasible options was to rent out the closest apartments to campus. Residential housing made this decision during last summer despite the losses it cost them.
Scott Eaton, associate director of intercollegiate athletics, said the athletes were chosen because of the number of athletes who live on campus, and because the athletic department has more control over their athletes. Because of this, residential housing may have felt more comfortable sending athletes, rather than a random group of students, to live off campus.
According to Eaton, the athletic department contacted several coaches about whether or not they would be interested in having their athletes live in Highland Ridge. Not all coaches wanted their athletes there, mostly because not all of the athletes have access to a car, so it was a lot easier to have them remain on campus. After discussing it with the coaches, the list of athletes that would live in Highland Ridge was made.
But, junior and campus resident Natalie Winter said, “They get to enjoy things that we don’t have available to us. Because they are not campus they can get away with a lot more than we can.”
This is not true, according to Eaton. “We actually have one of our assistant women’s basketball coaches living on the hill whose duties are to oversee the residents at Highland Ridge,” he said.
NKU junior Lou Jones, a baseball player who lives in Highland Ridge, said the basketball coach is there, “but she is not baby-sitting us.” He said the Highland Ridge residents definitely have more freedom than dorm residents.
It is an opinion supported by Reese who says that the parking situation has gotten worse because “they always have their friends over.”
The Highland Ridge apartments are listed on aptratings.com, a website where anonymous tenants can rate how satisfied they are with apartments. According to one review, “There are all kinds of NKU students who live here and there are always parties even during the week.”
The athletes who live in Highland Ridge get to enjoy the perks of living in an apartment complex. Some of these perks include washers and dryers, free tanning beds, a gym, having a full kitchen, fireplaces, and larger apartments then are available on campus. Jones has lived on campus and in Highland Ridge and says that overall he likes Highland Ridge a lot better. He said “We are staying in place that is supposed to cost almost $800 a month. Most of us could probably not afford that.”
Still, Jones thinks there are disadvantages to living in Highland Ridge. He said the freshmen athletes miss the social aspect of living on campus. “If I was a freshman I would be disappointed to live there. We are an isolated group of 40 people, instead of the hundreds of students in the dorms.”
Barnett said: “I just hope housing realizes how many students they upset by giving the Highland Ridge apartments to the athletes this year. I hope they don’t make the same mistake next year.”