VCU freshmen displaced in GRC lounges as temporary housing

Photo by Vaila DeYoung

Hannah Eason, News Editor

As of Sunday, more than a dozen students were living temporarily in Gladding Residence Center lounges while waiting for permanent dorm assignments.

Mathis Lotongo, a freshman living in one of the temporary rooms, said he didn’t know he was placed in a lounge until he arrived on campus Saturday.

“It wasn’t clear to me that I’d be in a lounge, I thought I’d be in a room,” Lotongo said.

Lotongo, who lives on campus without a car, said he was worried about moving his belongings to a different dorm without a vehicle. He also said his mother was upset, and contacted VCU Housing about the situation.

Lotongo said he was moved to a permanent room in GRC 3 on Monday.

Each floor of GRC has two lounges, one facing Laurel Street and another facing Pine Street.

Pine Street lounges, labeled as the “100 side” of the building, have been made into private dorms by taping paper over the hallway-facing windows.

Floors 2 through 12 have one lounge taped off. Some doors have name tags, but it is unclear if the rest house students.

GRC, the $96 million dollar freshman residence hall that opened to students in fall 2018, houses up to 1,518 students. The 360,000 square foot building was rebuilt after being torn down in August 2016. 

VCU accepted about 4,500 first year students for the 2019-2020 academic year, and there are approximately 6,000 students living on campus, most of whom are freshmen.

Cabaniss Residence Hall, a 10-story high-rise dorm on the MCV campus, will not house first year students this year.

The dorm built in 1967 previously held freshmen, who primarily depended on the Campus Connector to travel between the MCV and Monroe Park campuses. Starting this semester — as the result of a deal between the university and GRTC that allows students to use public buses for free — the Campus Connector no longer runs between the two campuses.

1 Comment

  1. This is a great write-up of a despicable situation. Is it possible for edits to include more photos of the rooms themselves? I’m not familiar with the lounges and I wondered if they were now inaccessible to others (are there locks besides just taped up paper) or if students just know someone is ‘temporarily’ stationed there.

    Thank you!

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