Homeland Security Officials Evaluate Overflow Living Areas For Purdue Freshmen

Aug 31, 2018

More traditional dorms have been overbooked for years, so Purdue had to find even more space for a bigger-than-expected class of entering freshmen.
Credit Charlotte Tuggle / WBAA News

As Purdue University students complained on social media about overcrowded living spaces, Indiana Department of Homeland Security officials visited the West Lafayette campus this week to ask questions.

Still, Purdue officials insist there was no “investigation” of the living space crunch.

For several years, Purdue has offered admission to more freshmen than it’s had room for. This year, the calculations were way off, leading to some 500 more first-year students than anticipated coming to campus.

“Every freshman will be accommodated on campus. They had to do some imaginative things,” Purdue President Mitch Daniels told WBAA a couple weeks ago.

Pictures posted to social media show rooms never intended to be living areas – such as meeting spaces and those adjacent to loading docks – now housing varying numbers of students. Some 100 students started the year in these areas, even after the school rented 600 apartments to house the overflow.

Homeland Security officials declined a taped interview, and a spokesperson sent an e-mail saying only that the rooms were found in compliance with fire codes. Purdue Vice Provost for Student Life Beth McCuskey says the spaces are appropriate for student living.

“They’re really designed as multi-purpose spaces," she says. "And at the beginning of the semester, we do use some of these for temporary housing. It’s a big room with a bathroom, so yes, could somebody live there? Yes, they’re living there.”

McCuskey says a couple dozen students are still in the makeshift dorm rooms, and she expects those who want to move could be out by the end of September.