Dorm issue flares up at UMass meeting

Several members of the Dorchester community this week warned UMass-Boston officials that the debate over building student dorms on the Columbia Point campus isn’t over.

“It isn’t a dead issue,” said Savin Hill resident Cathleen McDermott. “It’s not a done deal.”

But Otile McManus, who works for real estate developer Corcoran Jennison, quickly added that not everybody in Dorchester opposes on-campus housing.

The comments came at a Monday night meeting where UMass officials sought to update community members on the university’s 25-year plan to expand.

Opponents of dorms argue that housing students will bring on the same troubles that other neighborhoods in Boston face, such as loud parties and carousing, and are a diversion from the university’s mission of serving commuter students.

Ellen O’Connor, the university’s vice chancellor for administration and finance said dorms remain between seven to nine years off. Officials added that with 2,000 beds planned – and 15,000 students expected, the university will remain a commuter-based campus.

The Reporter
last month obtained documents showing UMass-Boston and Corcoran Jennison attempting to set up student dorms at the company’s new luxury apartment complex, but the proposal ultimately fell through, never moving past the preliminary stage. UMass officials say they continue to keep their options open on student housing opportunities.