TAMPA – At 4:30 a.m. last Wednesday, Campus Security discovered University of Tampa sophomore Enrique Rosado behind the Jaeb Computer Center.
“Well, at first they wanted to arrest me,” said Rosado. “They wanted to call the cops on me for trespassing. They asked me if I was a student. They asked to see my license. They asked to see my student ID.They asked me if I’m in a dorm and they asked me where I stayed. After they had realized that I was literally homeless and that it wasn’t a joke, that’s when they decided to take me back to the security office.”
The UT student was not trespassing. He had been homeless on campus for the previous six days.
He spent his mornings and afternoons at the Macdonald-Kelce Library and slept on the stairway behind Jaeb at night.
After verifying Rosado’s identity, security e-mailed Residence Life about Rosado’s situation and asked what could be done to find housing.
Rosado, 19, first contacted Residence Life during the summer to be on the no-guarantee wait list after missing the deadline for housing placement last spring.
He followed up on housing the week before classes started and was asked to hold off on submitting a housing deposit until he had been approved for housing.
Rosado’s efforts to secure a room on campus were denied after several attempts to notify Residence Life.
Rosado said he spoke with Elena Franqui, Residence Life Staff Assistant, about his living situation and asked if he could move into a room at the Howard Johnson.
Rosado stated that Franqui told him there were no more rooms available and that he would have to wait until the end of the week for an e-mail letting him know of any room vacancies.
“She pretty much said ‘stay out on the street until you get an e-mail saying you got housing,’” said Rosado.
Franqui did make an attempt to provide Rosado with housing alternatives.
“She tried to give me numbers to go to homeless shelters, but none of them were in the area,” said Rosado.
Rosado later found out that the “homeless shelters” were actually agencies that helped individuals and families locate low-income housing. Rosado contacted the agencies, but ultimately did not have the funds separate from his student funds to secure off-campus housing.
It had been almost a week that Rosado lived on his own, without housing and without a meal plan. Rosado managed to shower at the Bob Martinez Sports Center during his time living around campus.
Since Rosado’s meal plan was not active, he ate when he could afford to buy a meal.
According to Rosado, it was only after Residence Life learned a story was set to run in The Minaret that Rosado secured a room in the Howard Johnson.
Rosado received a call around 10 a.m. last Wednesday from Residence Life, notifying him of a room available in the Howard Johnson.
“I’m upset that something like that had to happen, especially with knowing the procedures. It just shocked me that they couldn’t just put me in the Howard Johnson like they would anybody else,” said Rosado.
The office of Residence Life declined to comment after repeated interview requests made within the past week.
Alex Vera can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.