Mack is Back!

In Indian River Towers (IRT) West, room 588, alumnus Chris Mack gets cozy in his dorm room during the first week of school.

After already eating breakfast and dinner in the Centre Marketplace cafeteria without signing up for a meal plan, Mack settles back in to college life without shelling out a dime.

Mack, who hasn’t attended classes at FAU in ten months and currently isn’t a registered student, received a letter from FAU’s Housing and Residential Life staff on July 29 congratulating him on his room assignment on the Boca campus. So, he figured he’d use the computer “glitch” to his advantage.

“I came down on move-in day and my paperwork [to sign in to my dorm] was there,” Mack says. “My Owl Card works in the card reader [to get in to IRT] and everything.”

Without paying the required $200 down payment or even filling out a housing contract, Mack received the acceptance letter while some registered students were still on a waiting list. Jill Eckardt, the director of Housing and Residential Life, says that as of Aug. 27 – four days after the semester officially started – there were 272 students still hoping to get dorm rooms.

Eckardt says that Mack was eligible for a room assignment, but he disagrees.

“I never put down any money, and I never signed up for a room,” Mack says. “I haven’t taken classes since Fall of 2007.”

Eckardt says that while Mack’s record is “private,” he met the qualifications to be accepted for a room assignment.

“You don’t have to be registered for classes to be selected [for a dorm room],” Eckardt says. “You only have to be admitted to FAU. It’s not uncommon to get a housing assignment without registering for classes.”

Mack is a former resident assistant (RA) who resigned from his post last December. He now lives in Orlando and owns his own real estate investment company and occasionally visits FAU for events on campus. Recently, he has attended a bonfire, a pajama party and a housing barbecue.

Senior Jonathan Styles, who is one of the RAs on the fifth floor of IRT West, wasn’t surprised by Mack’s return to FAU.

“I assumed he was just taking classes,” Styles, an architecture major who has been an RA for four years, says. Styles admits that he wasn’t fazed by the misplacement, but that he’s “never encountered” something like it during his time as an RA.

Mack says he told Eckardt and other Housing administrators about the acceptance letter mishap on Aug. 24. However, Eckardt doesn’t take the blame for the Housing Department, nor does she talk about Mack’s prior time as an on-campus student.

“Could it be a glitch? Yes,” Eckardt says. “But we do not discuss records of students. That is private.”

On Aug. 28, Mack returned to Orlando and his real estate company, CFL House Consulting LLC. But, before he left the Boca campus, Mack says he officially canceled his room assignment because of the long list of students who didn’t get the same opportunity he did.

“There are students who signed up and didn’t get rooms,” Mack says. “It’s not my fault that I got assigned a room, but I’m not going to sign a contract for a room that I don’t need.”

Mack admits that he plans on registering for classes for the Spring 2009 semester, but doesn’t think he’ll be back in IRT.

“I’m probably going to get an apartment off campus,” he says. “I don’t need to be in a dorm room anymore.”

As far as the “glitch” goes, Eckardt admits that Housing is looking into the situation.”We’re still double checking,” she says. “The issue is being addressed.”