Section: Opinion

Not all apartments are created equal

Kenyon should rethink room prices

Kenyon has a stifling atmosphere that often gives me a feeling of suffocation. I can feel trapped inside this bubble. But when I walk back from the library at 2 a.m. to my single in my New Apt, I am walking home. I am walking to my place, separate from school, far enough away that maybe I can feel like I am outside of this bubble. I have more than just a bed to call my own, or half a cramped room — I have an actual home. More than just a semi-private bathroom and a kitchen, one gains a community and a home when living in an apartment.

For this privilege, I pay the highest price for housing on campus: $8,100 per year for an apartment single. A dorm single is $7,100, the second highest price. A double in an apartment is $5,920. This means that someone living in a Caples single pays about $1,200 more than someone living in an NCA double. To live in my single in a New Apt, I pay $2,200 more than someone living in a double in an NCA. The only real difference in price is not between an apartment and a dorm, but between a single and a double.

But the experience does not reflect that price differential. As I said, apartments create a community. I can see my friends more. I can leave my razor in the shower. I can cook breakfast. I can have a party. In a single dorm room, you gain privacy, but with the potential for isolation. You have a room and a bed to call your own, but not a home. Dorm singles lack the sense of community that one finds in an apartment with chosen housemates. 

One solution to this is to charge more for apartments rather than dorms so the price reflects this drastic difference of lifestyle. But should all apartments cost the same?

My New Apt is at the bottom of a muddy hill. It is a downstairs apartment — I hear everything the kid above me does (and he gets a lot of loving, if you know what I mean). We have a dehumidifier in our apartment because it’s so humid that mildew grows. On one of the colder nights a few weeks back, a gas pipeline issue left us without heat or hot water. And hey, I’m 20 — though these things bother me, I can handle them so long as I get to live with my friends in our own house. But to think that I pay $2,200 more than someone in an NCA, well, that’s just something I cannot handle.

The Morgans, Aclands, Tafts and New Apts all are lacking in something the NCAs have in that, in addition to having a full living room and kitchen, heat and air conditioning, they are clean, new and functional. Must I go on? NCAs should be the most expensive housing option on campus. 

If the College insists on charging different prices for different rooms, then it should reconsider for what it is charging.

Dani Gorton ’18 is an English and studio art major from New Haven, Conn. Contact her at gortond@kenyon.edu.

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