The current first year class is composed of 1,007 students, a 54 student increase from the 953 students enrolled in the class year between 2021 and 2022. According to Assistant Dean of Student Affairs Timothy Touchette in a Feb. 3 interview with the Justice, only four more lofted triples were filled than in the previous year. But several first-year students shared that triples appear to be a common housing arrangement among their class: “I'm in a forced triple. Half the floor is forced triples. Half of my friends are in forced triples,” one first-year said.

“Almost everyone I know is in a triple,” reflected another first-year. 

In a Feb. 13 email to the Justice, Touchette wrote that he is not able to share the number of students typically housed in lofted triples because this is a dynamic number. In an interview for a 2018 Justice article, Assistant Director of Operations and Community Development Amanda Drapcho shared that 321 beds belonged to lofted triples. This amounts to 107 lofted triples in 2018. 

On the Brandeis University Parents Community Facebook page, some parents questioned the practice of housing students in lofted triples in the first place. “Our daughter lives in a Shapiro forced triple, and YES, the housing is over-crowded. The rooms are clearly designed for two people — small with two closets,” said one parent. “We did not expect luxury, but we did expect reasonable living conditions.” 

“The first-year doubles look small for two people, and nearly impossible for three,” shared another parent, who preferred to stay anonymous. “I think it is rare that being in a forced triple doesn’t have some negative impact on the first-year experience.”

On the other hand, a different parent pointed out that without lofted triples, the University would have less housing available on campus for upperclassmen and rent in surrounding areas would rise as a result.  

Touchette explained that there is a “maximum configuration” in which all bigger rooms are converted into lofted triples, and that the Department of Community Living has never reached that point.

Marina Buziak '26 suggested that the increasing use of lofted triples may be the result of miscommunication between DCL and the Office of Admissions. Buziak reached out to the Justice about an incident where a midyear student was mistakenly assigned to her double room over the winter break, which already housed two people. Although the student was quickly reassigned to another room when Buziak brought the issue to the attention of DCL, she said that before they realized the mistake, “their response was genuinely that they thought they over-admitted, so they started blaming Admissions.”

Regarding communication between DCL and Admissions, Touchette said, “We are all part of the enrollment steering group that meets weekly, and we share information throughout the admissions and enrollment process.”

Director of Admissions Rebecca Simons added in a Feb. 8 interview with the Justice, “The Office of Admissions works closely with DCL throughout the year to make sure we are on the same page regarding the number of students we are enrolling, and that we can accommodate those students.” 

Additionally, students and parents have complained that DCL is not always aware of available housing, and does not place students accordingly. Buziak shared that she knew of a student who had requested a single as a part of their medical accommodations but was placed in a lofted triple instead. She also knew of two other students that lived in a natural triple and did not have a third roommate. 

Parent Amber Blanton shared in the Brandeis University Parents Community Facebook group that her son had been placed in a single that he did not request. She said, “I find it odd that there are so many forced triples while other kids get singles without needing or asking for one.”

Touchette explained that DCL uses a software called “the Housing Director,” which allows them to keep track of where there are rooms available. “We take a look at all the inventory all over campus and see if there are pockets of spaces available so that students aren’t all by themselves,” he said. “There’s always enough space.”

Touchette went on to clarify that DCL often houses older first-year students in East Quad when there isn’t enough space in the quads typically designated for first-years, Massell Quad and North Quad. In 2018, DCL reported that 65 first-year students were housed in East Quad to accommodate what was then the highest enrollment the University had seen, with a first-year class of 922 students. 

Touchette said that the number of students placed in East Quad this year is “almost exactly the same” as last year. 

For the upcoming 2023-2024 housing cycle, Touchette said, “There aren’t any significant changes this year that we’re anticipating at all.”

— Editor’s note: Editor Cameron Cushing ’23 is employed by the Department of Community Living as a Community Advisor. He did not contribute to or edit this article.