The Chronicle’s View: Lack of accounting at the dorms will only hurt U students

Bad business has no business on a university campus.

The U is no exception.

The most recent example of poor money management comes from the Office of Residential Living. The office recently realized it was going to be short by several hundreds of thousands of dollars due to increases in utilities, employee benefits and bond payments.

To add to the dilemma, the number of dorm residents is only about 85 percent of capacity.

Because of the lack of demand and the increase of costs, students are going to have to pay for it.

But that’s not the worst part. The increase in money from students isn’t going to cover the current costs, and with the bond payments increasing every year for the next half-decade, rent isn’t going to go down, and costs still won’t be covered.

ORL should have known that these increases were coming, and it should have found solutions before the problem came pounding on its door.

Officials at ORL have said that increasing the number of students at the dorms will help cover costs, but that will only work if students are charged even more.

This principle is a basic one learned in Business 101. If one buys a pair of shoes for $11 and sells them for $9, one loses $2 on each transaction. It doesn’t matter if one sells a million pairs, one is still going to lose money.

The same principle applies to the dorms.

It seems that no matter what, students are going to have to shoulder the financial burden of living on campus.

One of the most disheartening aspects of such a solution, though, is that this could potentially prove to weaken an already shaky campus community feeling.

As it stands, the majority of students at the dorms are international and out-of-state students. If the U continues to increase rent, the few Utah students who live there will likely find a cheaper abode downtown, further adding to the commuter-campus feel of the U.

If rent continues to steadily increase over the next few years, then those students seeking out the intangible benefits of dorm life, such as a built-in community and activities, as not worth the cost.

The U needs to find a permanent solution to the dorms’ financial problems, and it needs to do it soon. While ORL officials are trying not to place the financial burden on students, it is inevitable and is happening already.

By making living in the dorms unaffordable, ORL is not only doing bad business, which reflects poorly on the U, but it is making students miss out on an important part of the college experience.