Like all large committees, progress is slow. While there seems to be some progress being made with regard to an awareness of the issues, one glaring omission is Chapman's insistence that it wants to increase the number of students on the Orange campus, in spite of their inability to house them. This was most recently expressed in an interview with the Voice of OC, whereby Dr. Struppa reiterated his intentions to see Chapman University grow by several thousand students. The statement by Dr. Struppa touched off numerous comments by interested parties on both Facebook and NextDoor.com.
A couple of items with which I'm not comfortable:
- Chapman indicates that they will strive to be able to house 50% of their students in Chapman-owned (preferably on-campus) housing.
- Not all of the intended growth will be at once, that it will occur gradually over the years
With regard to the first item, while that's an improvement, and we have to start somewhere, 50% seem very low, and will not significantly mitigate the impacts felt from the current overpopulation of students in the residential neighborhoods. Many colleges and universities house 90-95% of their population. I believe 85% is a more realistic goal for Chapman. And while difficult to achieve, would demonstrate to the community that they are serious about confronting the issue. 50% just seems like such a small step from the 35%-38% that they currently house.
With regard to the 2nd point, whether the increase in students is gradual or all-at-once is immaterial -- it's still population growth that Old Towne Orange can't currently handle. And once Chapman gets to its goal of 50% of students living on campus, then they will need to expand on-campus housing further prior to adding more students. If they don't, it simply puts us right back where we are now.
If you haven't already, I encourage you to read (and join) the threads on FaceBook and NextDoor.com -- interesting perspectives both for and against Chapman University's continued growth.
And I'll say it again - I'm not against Chapman University -- just against aggressive Chapman University growth.