Feminista!, Queer Students of Color (QSOC), Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated (AKA), Association of African American Students (AAAS) and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Incorporated (KAP) are just some organizations composed of students of color on campus, and next year they will also share a similar address because all five organizations will be on South Jackson Street.
Karla Concepcion, president of QSOC, said that the organization has been moved to share a duplex with Feminista!. “I don’t appreciate sharing a house with another organization, and I’m not trying to be selfish,” Concepcion said. “This is a safe space for us and I don’t think people are going to be comfortable going into the house, knowing another organization is right under us.”
Concepcion said that QSOC barely got their housing last year because they didn’t have enough members to live in the house but that having a quorum is not fair. “That [student organization housing] still creates a safe space for us, no matter how many members are living in the house,” Concepcion said.
Every year, student organizations who want to have a house must fill out an application submitted at the beginning of March. The applications are reviewed by Nicci Collisi, assistant director for the campus living and community development (CLCD) office. The housing process works on a yearly basis and placements depend on how many people want to live in the house.
CLCD received nine chapter applications and four affinity group applications for University housing. There was an increase of student organizations applying for housing this year, with Committee for Latino Concerns (CLC) applying for housing for the first time and group of eight women applying for housing.
A total of 16 organizations applied for housing this semester, and 11 of those had less than four students, according to Collisi.
Collisi met with the leaders of National Panhellenic Council (NPHC) and Multicultural Greek Council (MGC) to talk out their options for housing.
President of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated Brittany Davis said in an email that CLCD contacted them the last Monday of March to say that housing would be limited and that they were placed on Friday of that same week on South Jackson Street.
Jordan Horton, vice president of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Incorporated, said that their house will be in Rector Village, but the members will also be placed in a duplex. She understands that the house of her organization has to move into a duplex because of low numbers, but they need visual representation to increase their numbers.
“In terms of representation, location really matters,” Horton said.
South Jackson Street is not shown to prospective students on tour. Admission Visit Coordinator Anna Logan said in an email that the student tour guides stop at Hanna Street to “mention of the things they don't see on the tour [west], such as Peeler, CDI, athletic complex and Nature Park, and student housing [duplexes] along Indiana and Jackson Streets.”
Logan also said in the email that “the challenge has been, and continues to be, the fact that we have so much to see on this campus that we can't possibly show it all in one hour while realizing that if we lengthen our tours families will start to lose interest.”
Director of CLCD JC Lopez said that he understands the need for visibility, but CLCD is working to ensure that students know about all the organizations and don’t miss an opportunity. “I think we work really hard to provide incoming students as much information during their first semester,” Lopez said.
Next semester, Collisi said that CLCD is going to be working more closely with student organizations at the start of next year to help increase their numbers. “Have the conversation with those student organizations about how we can be of help to them,” Collisi said.
Horton and Concepcion both commented that the houses they have been placed in have not been in the best conditions because they have had piping issues and caving floors. “We are not living luxuriously,” Horton said.
After the six bias incidents in the past five days, Collisi said that the safety of students is the most important thing. “Our main initiative, regardless of whether the student is in a student organization, is that any time any of our students feel unsafe in residence we need them to contact us immediately so that we can have those conversations,” Collisi said.
“Everybody is working diligently on supporting the students and figure out solutions,” Lopez said. “We are more than happy to work with any organizations to make sure that they are having a positive and safe experience.”
Concepcion added that she does not understand why during weekends such as Admitted Student Days, DePauw advertises themselves as diverse but isolate students of color. “Why are they trying to claim diversity, and why are you isolating students of color into one section,” Concepcion said, “which they [prospective students] won’t see on tours.”