Housing application fee a barrier to fixing housing demographics

By Emily Henkels

I agree with Paul Cruse when he states that the University residence halls are not intentionally segregated in “University of Illinois Mythbusters: The story behind segregation in our residence halls”. (1/15)

However, a lot of times systems of segregation are not so simple as “black go here, white go here”. Particularly, I would like to highlight the $100 fee that must be paid before newly admitted students can apply for housing.

A white kid from the ‘burbs is much more likely to have mom or dad write out that check as soon as the acceptance letter comes in. However, a low income or minority student is much more likely to have to wait to apply for housing until she or he can come up with the money, until FAFSA comes through, until a scholarship is obtained, and so on.

Due to the first come, first serve system of the residence halls, it’s the rich, privileged kids like myself who get the first pick, which results (in part) in class and racial clustering.

Systems of power and privilege don’t always point to an obvious villain-at-fault, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t change them to make them more equitable in the future.