University Housing (University of Michigan) records

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University Housing (University of Michigan) records

The materials in this online repository form part of a larger Cultural Awareness and Diversity Education (University of Michigan) record group held by the Bentley Historical Library. For a more complete index to the materials, please consult the collection's online finding aid.

For questions or more information, please contact the Bentley Historical Library's Division of Reference and Access Services

Correspondence, memoranda, reports, minutes, and other materials relating to administration of the office; include files relating to operation and naming of University dormitories, especially detailing the establishment of housing policy and the resolution of housing controversies; information on small group housing and off-campus housing with individual files on fraternities and sororities; also files concerning the occupational status and treatment of Japanese-Americans working for the University during World War II, and concerning the housing and training of military personnel on campus during the war.

The University of Michigan's role in providing housing for students has varied dramatically through time. In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the university took very minimal responsibility for student housing. Around the turn of the century, however, the dean of women began to show interest in the subject. After years of effort, the university's first official residence for women, Helen Newberry Residence, was opened in 1915, followed by Martha Cook (1915), Alumnae House (1917), Betsey Barbour House (1920) and Adelia Cheever House (1921). A crowded housing market led to the construction of additional women's dormitories in the 1930s, including Mosher-Jordan (1930) and Stockwell (1940).

While after World War I the university accepted much responsibility for the housing of women, housing men was a more controversial subject. In 1920 a Housing Bureau for Men was established, and that office established as a goal the creation of sufficient dormitory space to house all incoming freshmen, both male and female. Debate over the topic continued, however, and in 1922 a group of alumni acted by opening Fletcher Hall as a residence for male students. In 1933 Fletcher Hall was acquired by the university, and in the late 1930s, with the construction of West and East Quads, the university accepted responsibility for providing housing for both male and female students.

The means to finance and administer an extensive housing plant have evolved over time. Originally dormitories were required to be financially self-supporting entities directly operated under the regents. The Depression made this arrangement untenable. The university pioneered a new financial and administrative structure in 1931 with the construction of Mosher-Jordan. The dormitory was paid for through a self-liquidating bond and control of the dormitory's finances and other matters was vested in a Board of Governors. This operational pattern was expanded in 1933, when all the women's residences except Martha Cook (the deed of gift for which guaranteed its independence) were consolidated into a single financial entity.

The post World War II expansion of the university put a tremendous strain on housing. The university responded with the construction of several new facilities. Alice Lloyd Hall (1949), South Quad (1951), Geddes House (1953), Oxford Housing (1963), and Bursley Hall (1968), helped cope with undergraduate students, Baits Housing (originally identified as Cedar Bend) (1966) was designed for upper classmen and graduate students.

At this time, there was a large number of married armed forces veterans enrolling at the university, creating a need for married housing. Being fully committed to meeting the educational needs of the veterans, the university initiated married student housing through the building of University Terrace in 1947 and the Northwood units in 1955, 1957, and 1958. Due to continued enrollment of the older, married student and the continuation of the GI bill, additional Northwood units were built in 1968 and 1972.

In 1962, the Reed committee, a committee to study student affairs at the university, called for continued commitment to quality housing but urged a phasing out of the "in loco parentis" role of the university. It was at this time, with the restructuring of the Office of Student Affairs, that housing became the responsibility of a single director in the Housing Division under the Vice President for Student Services, rather than the responsibility of the Dean of Men and the Dean of Women. The business, housekeeping, maintenance, and food service operations remained the responsibility of Financial Operations. In 1965, family housing was integrated into the Housing Division.

On July 1, 1966, the Office of University Housing was created, with John Feldkamp as director. The new office combined the responsibilities of Housing Division with those of Financial Operations. The Office of University Housing was then responsible for all aspects of university owned and affiliated housing. Relationships with the private market (off-campus housing) were maintained by the Office of Student Community relations.

In 1972, the Off-Campus Housing Office of the Housing Division was created as a result of the report of the Commission on Off-Campus Housing, created under President Harlan Hatcher in 1965. The commission's report urged the university to concern itself with the housing needs of all students, not just those in university owned and operated housing. The Off-Campus Housing Office acted as an informational agency: informing students on the availability of off-campus housing, advising on landlord-tenant concerns, and assuming responsibility for providing input to the university community regarding the off campus-student housing situation.

The 1937 Michigan House Plan was the ultimate factor in determining the objectives of housing at the university. The plan suggested that Housing should in some way contribute to student education, in addition to providing rooms. This was first implemented by naming residence units in honor of past faculty and by the opening of residence hall libraries. The goals of housing have continued to focus on education, student services, administrative and staff development. In the 1970s, educational needs continued to be addressed through residence education programs, residential academic programs, and residence hall libraries.

The Residence Hall Academic Peer Advisor Program was developed as a cooperative effort between Housing Division and the Academic Advising Office of the undergraduate College of Literature, Science and the Arts. The intent of the program was to meet criteria set by University Housing policy: academic interests of the residents must be served by programs and services offered in each residence hall. The first program was established at Markley Hall for the 1990/91 academic year. By 1996/97 the program expanded to a total of nine residence units.

Residence Halls Computing Program (ResComp) is a joint venture of the Information Technology Division and University Housing that started as a pilot project in the Mosher Jordan dormitories during the 1986/87 academic year. By May of 1986 approximately 150 Macintosh computers had been installed in eleven residence hall sites. ResComp student staff (trainers) lived in nine of the residence halls and taught classes on word processing and Michigan Terminal System (MTS) for approximately 10 hours per week. In 1991, ResComp sites were changed to 24 hour card access. As of 2016, ethernet connections are available in all halls and require an ethernet cable to get connected. Wireless connection is available in alsmost all halls on campus.

As of 2016, wireless is available in all halls

Other areas implemented by Housing Division include Housing Food Service, Conference Management Services and the Entree and Entree Plus programs. In the mid-1990s Housing Division was renamed University Housing. University Housing information is available on the World Wide Web at the URL

Please note:

Copyright has been transferred to the Regents of the University of Michigan.

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