In the past week, University of Tampa sophomore Enrique Rosado received 150 friend requests on Facebook.
He has been offered free drinks at The Kennedy and free VIP access at Prana.
Rosado also appeared on the local evening news and CNN.
The reason: an article published by The Minaret outlining Rosado’s brief homeless situation at the start of this semester.
For six days Rosado slept behind the Jaeb Computer Center before finally attracting the attention of campus security.
Since his situation became public, people have stopped him on campus to offer their support or, alternately, to accuse him of being lazy and a liar.
“Some people sympathize for me and some people treat me as a little boy who doesn’t know how to take care of himself,” said Rosado.
A Statement from ResLife
A week ago, Krystal Schofield, director of Residence Life, released a statement to The Minaret, sharing, “If students miss the late-March sign-up and selection deadline, they can be added to the no-guarantee wait-list. The remaining 30 students on the wait-list – including Enrique Rosado – were e-mailed in August with an offer of housing in the Howard Johnson.
“Many of those 30 students chose to live off-campus and did not respond to the e-mail. Rosado did not respond either, and was assumed to have found appropriate off-campus housing.”
Rosado said he did respond to the August e-mail, but that he was a bit late on his response.
According to Schofield, “When Rosado did contact Residence Life during the first week of school, the staff confirmed his place on the wait-list, and subsequently worked to secure campus housing. Interim housing options — staying with a friend or in a hotel — were discussed, but the staff was not made aware of Rosado’s itinerant status until being notified by Campus Safety on Sept. 1. Rosado was offered a room in the Howard Johnson later that day.”
Rosado disagrees with the latter portion of Schofield’s explanation.
“Had that statement been true, I would have not been homeless for days,” he said. “The funniest thing was when they said they were unaware of my housing situation because being unaware of that, why would you give someone a list of homeless shelters?”
Rosado said he attempted to speak with other Residence Life staffers, but was ultimately told that no one was going to be able to do anything for him.
After going through the ordeal of being homeless, Rosado was contacted by dean of students, Robert Ruday.
According to Rosado, Ruday wanted to make sure that he was mentally and emotionally capable of attending class.
Ruday provided Rosado with a chance to elaborate more on his side of the story and express his feelings on how the situation should have been handled and what actions were appropriate.
“He just wanted to make sure that I was doing okay and he apologized on behalf of ResLife for them not taking the appropriate action,” said Rosado.
Aftermath of Frustration,
Fear and Anxiety
The first few nights of this semester were certainly not what Rosado had been expecting. He came to UT thinking he would find a dorm room in a matter of days, but ended up in circumstances he could have never foretold.
“To have to stay outside…I’m out here alone, in this foreign place with no one that I know,” he said. “It puts you in a place where you’re full of fear and anxiety.” Today, Rosado is living at the Howard Johnson.
In a comment he posted online beneath The Minaret’s story on his situation, he stated that this would be his last semester at UT.
He now says, “At the time, I was so frustrated with the kind of attention I was getting. I just wanted to finish the semester and leave and not have to deal with this anymore.”
He now says that he plans to complete his studies at UT.
Although some people have offered Rosado a lending hand, he has been confronted angrily by others.
“I was going to the Howard Johnson,” he said. “There was an RA there. She recognized me from [a story that ran on an ABC local evening newscast]. She asked me why I would lie about UT like that. She accused me of doing this for publicity and said I deserve what I got.”
Rosado said he did not sleep outside or share his story for the publicity. In his words, “Had security not found me, I could have still been out there.”
Now that things have died down a little bit, he feels more comfortable being at UT and says that he wouldn’t take it out on the school because of a few people’s mistakes.
UT students voiced their opinions online, here is what they have to say:
Peter said, “The student either made a mistake or was financially unable to make the payment. ResLife has two options: 1) try to help him and give him one of the open rooms or 2) ignore him. They chose the latter, unfortunately. ResLife has a history of doing the least amount of work possible, and they got caught doing too little this time.
“I think the most telling sign in this saga is that after The Minaret made an inquisition, a room magically opened up in the HoJo. If anyone at the university is actually investigating this and has access to ResLife records (i.e. not what The Minaret would be able to do), they will be able to see if someone moved out/was kicked out the day Mr. Rosado was given housing. If not, then it’s pretty clear who’s at fault here.”
Jamal Wilburg posted, “There is such a thing as personal responsibility. He missed the deadline for housing and thus wasn’t guaranteed to have a dorm room for the fall. This is a part of life ladies and gentlemen. There are no participation ribbons in the game of life.
“In the real world if you do not pay rent to your landlord on time you do not have a place to live. He is an adult and faces consequences as a result of the decisions that he made. It is unfortunate that he was sleeping on the steps of a computer lab but why didn’t he sleep inside the computer lab?
“Perhaps he would’ve been noticed in a shorter period of time than the apparent six days it took security’s patrols to see him. That’s the only part of this story that concerns me. The thought that someone could potentially be lurking on campus and wouldn’t be noticed until the sixth night is a real issue. I do not know this student and feel bad for anyone sleeping on the concrete steps while pursuing a college degree.
“However, he would not have been in this situation had he done what he needed to do when he needed to do it. This isn’t a Reslife issue, sounds to me like the students that paid their deposits on time all had rooms and people are using this article to vent personal feelings about university staff rather than focus on real issues at hand. In my four years at UT I was never homeless. I also never submitted my housing paperwork late. Coincidence, I think not…”
Angela C. wrote, “I admire Rosado so much for going through that rough time and fighting to be at UT. Obviously he did it for a reason and for someone to call him lazy is pathetic.”
Kenge said, “This is unfortunate, however there are deadlines and part of the college experience is knowing what not to slack off on! Housing deadline being one of them. My question [is] if he didn’t have housing why did he go to school? Where are his friends, family etc? This is not just on Residence Life. As an adult it was and is his responsibility to plan better!”
“When it comes down to it,” said Rosado, “nobody knows my story, nobody knows my situation, nobody knows my life.”
Alex Vera can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.