This article is part of The News Record’s “UC housing crisis” series, which will continue to cover the University of Cincinnati’s housing shortage.
The University of Cincinnati (UC) is terminating its lease agreement with The Deacon, ending a relationship that began five years ago.
Acquired by real estate firm Trinitas Ventures for $300 million in 2017, The Deacon didn’t open until 2019, with 400 of the building's 800 beds being leased by UC.
Now, those beds will be returned to private ownership.
Sarah Hohman, student ambassador for The Deacon and a second-year psychology student, confirmed the lease with the college was finished.
She also said that UC’s decision to revoke its status was quick and abrupt. While they still have the sixth through ninth floors on hold until April, Hohman said UC “backed out without telling us.”
“We weren’t informed,” Hohman said. “We didn’t know until last Thursday or Friday.”
Despite the abundance of students living in The Deacon, seven days have passed and no one from UC Housing has issued a statement.
When asked if The Deacon’s staff had informed its student residents, Hohman said, “That would be UC’s decision, not us.”
While initially lauded as “one of the largest development projects in Greater Cincinnati,” the praise was quickly replaced by a string of bad press. Throughout its existence, The Deacon was beset with problems, from break-ins and false alarms to unsanitary living conditions and delayed move-in times.
Yet for years, thousands of UC students called it home, and the complex billed itself as “the closest off-campus, private student housing to the University of Cincinnati.” Most recently, The Deacon was named “Best Apartment” in The News Record’s Best of UC last year.
This decision comes after years of record enrollment. Last year, UC welcomed 48,000 students, the largest number of attendees in UC’s history. In 2021, the university saw 46,798 students enroll, “410 more than last year’s all-time high,” according to Director of Communications John Bach.
Yet this growth has also brought a precipitous decline in available housing, causing housing assignments to be stalled 700 students and thousands more to be waitlisted last year.
Hohman said she was “very concerned” about the student population who lived in The Deacon and would now need to either pay higher rates for their rooms or leave. While she had a backup plan, “a lot of students don’t have that,” she said.
Summarizing the housing program, Hohman called it “a bad situation for everyone.”
UC’s housing department didn’t respond to requests for comment.