Duke’s housing practices will largely return to normal in the fall, but a fraction as as many students as normal chose to live in selective housing sections, the head of Housing and Residence Life told The Chronicle.
HRL will once again place students in double rooms, and campus housing will be about 95% full, said Deb LoBiondo, interim dean for residence life. That’s normal for the fall semester, LoBiondo said, because the University has to leave space for students who will return in the spring from study away programs.
“We are proceeding as normal as normal can be under the circumstances,” LoBiondo said. “I anticipate that with the announcement of the required vaccine … that will hopefully make a difference.”
Only about 150 to 180 students opted to live in selective housing sections in the fall, LoBiondo said, compared to 1281 students who lived in selective sections in fall 2019. All selective housing sections will be in Edens Quad next year, administrators announced in February.
LoBiondo provided a list of the 11 selective groups with housing sections in an email. The list, which does not include living learning communities, is as follows:
- Maxwell House
- Chi Omega
- The Cube
- Psi Upsilon
- Wayne Manor
- Round Table
Only two groups with sections, Chi Omega and Psi Upsilon, are Greek organizations.
Duke’s Next Generation Living and Learning 2.0 Committee is in the process of reimagining the Duke residential experience, with guidelines including moving rush for selective living groups to sophomore year and moving selective sections away from Abele Quad, the main West Campus quad.
Nine fraternities disaffiliated from the University following the announcement of those changes, forming the Durham Interfraternity Council. Those groups held rush processes that were not bound by the ban on first-years rushing, and administrators blamed in-person rush parties held by people connected to Durham IFC groups for a spike in COVID-19 cases that caused a weeklong campus lockdown. (The organization promised new accountability measures after the spike.)
LoBiondo also noted that Duke will return to its normal rules governing which students can live off campus. Although Duke has a six-semester residency requirement, students who lived off campus this past year, when Duke expanded off-campus options due to COVID-19, are not required to stay on campus their senior years.
In addition, the University is keeping space in the Avana apartments for the next year.
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Matthew Griffin is a Trinity senior and was editor-in-chief for The Chronicle's 116th volume.