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Fuller house: COVID aftermath leaves OSU making budget cuts in student housing

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Bennett Hall

Budget cuts are causing a decrease in the amount of Community Mentors that OSU can provide for students, leaving some halls without any student staff presence at all.

For many years, Community Mentors’ (CM’s) positions have been stable, but budget cuts are changing the game.

Next school year, OSU Housing and Residential Life will downsize the amount of CM’s by roughly 32% due to budget issues from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Community mentors are student staff members who serve as peer mentors to provide advocacy, intervention, mentorship and support to residential students in achieving student success.

At the beginning of the 2020-21 school year, there were approximately 165 CM’s on staff. Between the 31 residential halls on campus, there will be 113 CM’s on staff in the 2021-22 school year. 

Dr. Leon McClinton serves as the Director of Housing and Residential Life. He said that the pandemic has been a major cause of the staff reduction.

“The pandemic has caused a budget downfall and a projected decrease in occupancy, which has required our department to look at ways to cut expenses for the upcoming year,” McClinton said. 

For CM’s, they will still maintain the same compensation package provided with the position. 

Residential halls will look different in terms of the amount of residents that CM’s will be responsible for. 

Wentz Hall provides community living for over 500 students with nine floors of housing. There will be eight student staff members in that hall next year. That’s estimated to be about 63 students that each CM would be responsible for. This is more than double the typical amount.

Bennett Hall, another hotspot of student living, will have 11 CM’s next year. That’s estimated to be about 55 students for each CM. 

The Morrison Neighborhood, home to McPherson Hall, Payne-Ellis Hall, Carreker East and West Halls is expected to have no student staffing at all. 

Even though this is the plan as of now, McClinton said that it’s a priority to have a CM present in halls all across campus. 

“We will make sure all of our residential communities will have a CM presence,” McClinton said.